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"Presentment" Defense Rejected In Medicare FCA Case

January 5, 2006

The developing case law interpreting the False Claims Act's imposition of liability on anyone who "knowingly presents, or causes to be presented" a false claim to the federal government should especially interest any company whose "government" business involves directly invoicing someone other than the government itself -- e.g., a grantee, a state or local government, a fiscal intermediary, or a prime contractor -- even though federal funds may ultimately be included in the payment. Another recent decision in this line, United States v. Squire , 2005 WL 3470297 (N.D. Illinois Dec. 12, 2005), denied a Medicare provider's motion to dismiss, holding that the provider may "cause" a false claim to be "presented" by means of a convoluted pathway, where the provider's requests for payment are submitted directly to a "fiscal intermediary" (administrative services contractor) which determines the correct amount of the provider's compensation and then authorizes a commercial bank to draw down a daily total from the Medicare trust funds held by the Federal Reserve Bank, a daily total which includes -- among a great many other things -- an amount used to compensate the provider.

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