Taxpayer Protection Bureau
In his first weeks in office, Attorney General Schneiderman announced an aggressive plan to root out fraud and return money illegally stolen from New York taxpayers and their government. Schneiderman’s "Taxpayer Protection Bureau" (TPB) cracks down on targets including: firms that rip-off government pension funds, contractors that over-bill taxpayers, and large-scale tax cheats; and encourages and works with whistle-blowers to expose corruption.
The new bureau conducts civil investigations and prosecutions against individuals who make or use false or fraudulent claims, records, or statements to obtain government money. It does not require any additional hires, and the Attorney General will instead assign several existing prosecutors to this new bureau.
The Taxpayer Protection Bureau will make use of the False Claims Act — a powerful law that empowers the Attorney General, local governments and whistle-blowers to bring actions against anyone that defrauds the government. Critically, defendants must pay the government triple damages and civil penalties — the highest civil penalties of any New York statute. This 2007 law resulted in the recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen funds for taxpayers; the vast majority of those recovered monies have been stolen Medicaid funds, with relatively few recoveries involving non-Medicaid fraud cases.
However, a very recent enhancement of the False Claims Act, called the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA), was authored by Attorney General Schneiderman and makes New York the first state in the nation to expand its False Claims law in many ways, including by adding the power to crack down on large-scale, multi-state corporate tax fraud schemes, expanding whistle-blower protections, and closing loopholes that made it hard to prosecute corrupt subcontractors.
Working with whistleblowers, Attorney General Schneiderman will assign attorneys to use this revenue-generating statute to recover much-needed revenue for the state and its taxpayers. This new bureau will increase the potential for the state to recover frauds committed by state contractors, who collectively receive $13 billion in funding from New York taxpayers, and billions more in contracts with local governments.
Schneiderman will also enhance the office's focus on corruption and fraud against local governments, by having the Taxpayer Protection Bureau train local governments in fraud detection and fraud prosecution efforts.
To report fraud against New York State taxpayers, contact the office of Attorney General at 1-800-771-7755.