WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department said Monday it has recovered more money under the False Claims Act since January 2009 than in any comparable period in history.
The department said $5.4 billion has been returned to federal programs and the Treasury Department in the period of almost two years.
Since 1986, when the civil False Claims Act was strengthened, recoveries total more than $27 billion.
The Justice Department said it recovered $3 billion in false-claims cases in fiscal year 2010, including a historic $2.5 billion in healthcare fraud.
"Under Attorney General Eric Holder's leadership, our aggressive pursuit of fraud under the False Claims Act has resulted in the largest two-year recovery of taxpayer dollars in the history of the Justice Department," Assistant Attorney General Tony West said. "Nowhere is this more apparent than in our success in fighting healthcare fraud."
Since January 2009, the Justice Department's Civil Division and U.S. attorneys offices began healthcare fraud investigations, secured larger fines and judgments, and "recovered more taxpayer dollars lost to healthcare fraud than in any other two-year period," West said.
Most of the cases that yielded financial recoveries were brought to the government by whistle-blowers under the False Claims Act, the Justice Department said.