The Case for Expanding the Utah False Claims Act
Robert D. Sherlock, Jeffrey D. Eisenberg, and Sarah M. Wade, J.
spending in Utah will exceed $14 billion for fiscal year
Although a Utah False Claims Act exists, its reach is limited to state healthcare dollars and it does not contain the whistleblower provisions that make the Federal Act and other states’ false claims acts so successful. To better root out fraud against taxpayer dollars, the legislature should amend the Utah False Claims Act to mirror the Federal Act. A Utah False Claims Act that mirrors the Federal Act would create liability for any person who knowingly submits a false claim or causes another to submit a false claim to the state of Utah or knowingly makes a false record or statement to get a false claim paid by the state. It would also impose liability where a person improperly avoids having to pay money to the state and would create liability for those who conspire to violate the Utah False Claims Act.
Further, a whistleblower would be permitted to initiate suit by providing the state Attorney General with all material evidence and information the whistleblower possesses and by filing a complaint under seal. During the seal period, the government would be empowered to investigate the whistleblower’s allegations to determine their validity and to assess whether to intervene in the case and to take primary responsibility for the litigation. If the government decided not to intervene, the whistleblower would still have the right to continue the action on behalf of the government via private counsel. A successful whistleblower would...