BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Wednesday that more than $40 million was recovered by Coakley's office using the False Claims Act in Fiscal Year 2011.

The figure nearly tripled the $14.4 million that was recovered in 2011. The total budget during FY 11 for Coakley's office was approximately $37 million.

"The False Claims Act has been a critically important tool for holding companies responsible that defraud the Commonwealth and recovering taxpayer funds," Coakley said. "In today's tough economy every dollar we can recover helps ensure that these much needed funds are not wasted. We are tremendously proud of our success last fiscal year and are working hard to duplicate those efforts in 2012."

Multiple cases were brought under the False Claims Act, resulting in recoveries for the commonwealth, its municipalities and agencies.

Coakley's office has taken further legal action under the False Claims Act in Fiscal Year 2012 and has reached additional settlements. In January, the URS Corporation paid an added $2.3 million to resolve allegations that it submitted inflated and false invoices to the Massachusetts Port Authority when renovating Logan International Airport. In February, Coakley's office filed a lawsuit against XL Specialty Insurance for allegedly failing to compensate the state more than $3 million after a Grafton bridge collapsed, allegedly due to shoddy construction work. The company allegedly submitted false statements to avoid their contract and performance bond obligations with MassDOT in June 2007.

The False Claims Act, which was passed in 2000, authorizes Coakley to sue entities that submit false payment claims to the state government or its political subdivisions on purchasing and contracting issues. Coakley's Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau enforces the False Claims Act.

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