Hawaii False Claims Act Information

Hawaii’s whistleblower laws allow private persons to file a qui tam action on behalf of the State and Counties and recover 15-30% of the proceeds

Hawaii has two whistleblower laws: 1.) Hawaii False Claims Act (“HFCA”) combats fraud in state programs, purchases, or contracts, and 2.) False Claims to the Counties Act covers false claims made to the counties.

Hawaii False Claims Act (HFCA)

A private person may bring a civil action for a violation of the HFCA on behalf of the state. In the case of a successful action, the whistleblower shall receive 15% – 30% of the proceeds of the action or settlement of the claim, plus an amount for expenses, attorney’s fees, and case costs. The HFCA also protects whistleblowers against retaliation for engaging in protected activity, if a civil action is brought within three years of the retaliatory conduct.

The Hawaii False Claims Act—HI Rev Stat § 661-21 et seq—states that a person who:

(1) Knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;

(2) Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim;

(3) Has possession, custody, or control of property or money used, or to be used, by the State and, intending to defraud the State or to willfully conceal the property, delivers, or causes to be delivered, less property than the amount for which the person receives a certificate or receipt;

(4) Is authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used, or to be used by the State and, intending to defraud the State, makes or delivers the receipt without completely knowing that the information on the receipt is true;

(5) Knowingly buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property from any officer or employee of the State who is not lawfully authorized to sell or pledge the property;

(6) Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the State, or knowingly conceals, or knowingly and improperly avoids or decreases an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the State;  

(7) Is a beneficiary of an inadvertent submission of a false claim to the State, who subsequently discovers the falsity of the claim, and fails to disclose the false claim to the State within a reasonable time after discovery of the false claim; or

(8) Conspires to commit any of the conduct described in this subsection,

is liable to the State for a civil penalty of $5,500 – $11,000, plus three times the amount of damages that the State sustains due to the act of that person.

False Claims to the Counties Act

The False Claims to the Counties Act is similar to the HFCA as far as whistleblower rewards, and civil penalties and damages for violators. However, the False Claims to the Counties Act—HI Rev Stat § 46-171 to 46-179—imposes liability to the county on any person who:

(1) Knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, to an officer or employee of a county a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;

(2) Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by a county;

(3) Conspires to defraud a county by getting a false or fraudulent claim allowed or paid;

(4) Has possession, custody, or control of property or money used, or to be used, by a county and, intending to defraud a county or willfully to conceal the property, delivers, or causes to be delivered, less property than the amount for which the person receives a certificate or receipt;

(5) Is authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used, or to be used by a county and, intending to defraud a county, makes or delivers the receipt without completely knowing that the information on the receipt is true;

(6) Buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property from any officer or employee of a county that the person knows may not lawfully sell or pledge the property;

(7) Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement to conceal, avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to a county; or

(8) Is a beneficiary of an inadvertent submission of a false claim to a county, who subsequently discovers the falsity of the claim, and fails to disclose the false claim to the county within a reasonable time after discovery of the false claim.

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