U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

False Statements and False Claims

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 47 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2010 Pages: 527-560
Brendan Gallagher; Stacey N. Kime
Date Published
34 pages
This article reviews the features of sections 287 and 1001 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, which make it a crime to knowingly make a false claim upon or against the United States or to any department or agency thereof, as well as to knowingly and willfully make a false statement to the United States or to any department or agency thereof.
In addition, 31 U.S.C. sections 3729-33 authorize the civil prosecution of false claims. The aforementioned three statutes covered by a single statute from 1863 to 1948, contain similar elements, which gives prosecutors the option to choose the statute under which they will prosecute fraud cases. In order to guide prosecutors in the use of this option, the U.S department of Justice (DOJ) advises its attorneys to bring cases under section 287 rather than section 1001 whenever possible. This is recommended in order to enhance the prosecutor's ability to use estoppel doctrines in subsequent civil suits. One section of this article discusses criminal prosecutions brought under section 1001, the False Statements Act. This is followed by a section that addresses criminal charges brought under section 287, the False Claims Act. The civil false claims statutes sections 3729-30 are addressed in the article's concluding section. 240 notes