According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), it obtained a record $5.69 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government in the fiscal year ending September 30.

This is the first time the DOJ has exceeded $5 billion in cases under the False Claims Act, and brings total recoveries from January 2009 through the end of the fiscal year to $22.75 billion – more than half the recoveries since Congress amended the False Claims Act 28 years ago to strengthen the statute and increase the incentives for whistleblowers to file suit.

Most false claims actions are filed under the act’s whistleblower, or qui tam, provisions that allow individuals to file lawsuits alleging false claims on behalf of the government.  If the government prevails in the action, the whistleblower, known as a relator, receives up to 30 percent of the recovery.  The number of qui tam suits filed in fiscal year 2014 exceeded 700 for the second year in a row. During the same period, the government paid out $435 million to the individuals who exposed fraud and false claims by filing a qui tam complaint, often at great risk to their careers.

“We acknowledge the men and women who have come forward to blow the whistle on those who would commit fraud on our government programs,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda.  “In strengthening and protecting the False Claims Act, Congress has given us the law enforcement tools that are so essential to guarding the treasury and deterring others from exploiting and misusing taxpayer dollars.  We are grateful for their continued support.”

Read the DOJ press release: Justice Department Recovers Nearly $6 Billion from False Claims Act Cases in Fiscal Year 2014