Minnesota Department of Transportation

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MnDOT Policies

False Claims against the State

MnDOT Policy #FM002
Effective Date: September 17, 2020

View/print signed policy (pdf)

Please go to the MnDOT Org Chart to find specific contact information: Org Chart.

Responsible Senior Officer: Deputy Commissioner/Chief Administrative Officer and Deputy Commissioner/Chief Engineer
Policy Owner: Chief Counsel, Office of Chief Counsel
Policy Contact: Deputy Chief Counsel - Construction and Contract Management

Policy statement

Employees of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) must report suspected violations of the Minnesota False Claims Act to the employee’s supervisor, the MnDOT Office of Chief Counsel, or by completing MnDOT’s anonymous Report Wrongdoing/Questionable Activity Form. Managers and supervisors who receive a report of a suspected violation of the False Claims Act from an employee must report the suspected violation to the Office of Chief Counsel.

MnDOT must investigate suspected or reported false claims and take appropriate action.

Reason for policy

The MnDOT Code of Ethics Policy holds MnDOT employees “to a high standard of conduct and level of scrutiny.” As such, employees are required to report possible false claims. This policy assigns responsibilities and provides guidance for reporting and investigating false claims.

The Minnesota False Claims Act, Minnesota Statutes Chapter 15C, and the Federal False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733, impose civil liability upon a person or organization for knowingly submitting false claims to the government.

Applicability

All MnDOT employees must comply with the False Claims against the State policy.

Key stakeholders affected by this policy include:

  • All MnDOT Employees
  • Office of Chief Counsel
  • MnDOT Office of Audit
  • Deputy Commissioners
  • State Construction Engineer
  • Resident and Project Engineers

Definitions

Claim

A request or demand, whether under a contract or otherwise, for money or property that is presented to a governmental entity or another entity that is disbursing money on behalf of a governmental entity.  For a more detailed definition, see Minnesota Statutes section 15C.01, subdivision 2.

False Claim

  • Knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
  • Knowingly making or using, or causing to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim; or
  • Committing other acts qualifying as a false claim as identified in Minnesota Statutes §15C.02(a)

Qui Tam Action

A lawsuit brought by a private citizen against a person or company who is believed to have violated the law in the performance of a contract with the government or in violation of a government regulation. In a qui tam action the person bringing the suit is entitled to a percentage of the recovery of the penalty as a reward for exposing the wrongdoing and recovering funds for the government. Sometimes the federal or state government will intervene and become a party to the suit in order to guarantee success and be part of any negotiations and conduct of the case.

State

State means the state of Minnesota and includes a department or agency of the state.

Responsibilities

Office of Chief Counsel

  • Direct investigation of suspected or reported violations of the Minnesota False Claims Act in conjunction with the MnDOT Office of Audit.
  • Present findings of investigations to the Deputy Commissioners, State Construction Engineer, and other relevant staff, describing the nature of the claim, the statutory basis for liability, the claimant’s possible defenses, and relevant records and documents.
  • Maintain records of the investigation, including the recommendation for resolution and information about the status of individual investigations.
  • Work with the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General to pursue legal remedies, if appropriate.
  • If a false claim comes in as a qui tam action, work with the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General to determine if the State wants to intervene in the lawsuit.

MnDOT Office of Audit

  • Investigate suspected or reported violations of the Minnesota False Claims Act in conjunction with the Office of Chief Counsel.

Deputy Commissioners

  • Review investigation findings and provide input on resolution.

State Construction Engineer

  • Review investigation findings and provide input on resolution.

Employees

Policy Owner (Chief Counsel)

  • Review the policy every two years, or sooner as necessary, to ensure the policy remains up-to-date.
  • Ensure supporting documents associated with the policy remain current.
  • Work with Policy Coordinator to review policy and/or confirm its accuracy.
  • Communicate policy revisions, reviews, and retirements to stakeholders.

Resources and related information

Forms

Resources

History and updates

Adopted

August 8, 2012

Revised

  • First Revision: August 20, 2013
  • Second Revision: September 17, 2020

Policy review

This policy's next scheduled review is due September 2022.