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e-CFR data is current as of January 14, 2021

Title 45Subtitle BChapter VIPart 681 → Subject Group

Title 45: Public Welfare

Procedures Leading to Issuance of a Complaint

§681.4   Who investigates program fraud?

The Inspector General, or his or her designee, is the investigating official responsible for investigating allegations that a false claim or statement has been made. In this regard, the Inspector General has authority under PFCRA and the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App. 3), as amended, to issue administrative subpoenas for the production of records and documents.

§681.5   What happens if program fraud is suspected?

(a) If the investigating official concludes that an action under this part is warranted, the investigating official submits a report containing the findings and conclusions of the investigation to the reviewing official. If the reviewing official determines that the report provides adequate evidence that a person made a false, fictitious or fraudulent claim or statement, the reviewing official shall transmit to the Attorney General written notice of an intention to refer the matter for adjudication, with a request for approval of such referral. This notice will include the reviewing official's statements concerning:

(1) The reasons for the referral;

(2) The claims or statements upon which liability would be based;

(3) The evidence that supports liability;

(4) An estimate of the amount of money or the value of property, services, or other benefits requested or demanded in the false claim or statement;

(5) Any exculpatory or mitigating circumstances that may relate to the claims or statements known by the reviewing official or the investigating official; and

(6) A statement that there is a reasonable prospect of collecting an appropriate amount of penalties and assessments.

(b) If, at any time, the Attorney General or his or her designee requests in writing that this administrative process be stayed, the authority head, as identified in §681.2(c) of this part, must stay the process immediately. The authority head may order the process resumed only upon receipt of the written authorization of the Attorney General.

§681.6   When may NSF issue a complaint?

NSF may issue a complaint:

(a) If the Attorney General (or designee) approves the referral of the allegations for adjudication; and

(b) In a case of submission of false claims, if the amount of money or the value of property or services demanded or requested in a false claim, or a group of related claims submitted at the same time, does not exceed $150,000.

§681.7   What is contained in a complaint?

(a) A complaint is a written statement giving notice to the person alleged to be liable under 31 U.S.C. 3802 of the specific allegations being referred for adjudication and of the person's right to request a hearing with respect to those allegations.

(b) The complaint will state that NSF seeks to impose civil penalties, assessments, or both, against the defendant and will include:

(1) The allegations of liability against the defendant, including the statutory basis for liability, identification of the claims or statements involved, and the reasons liability allegedly arises from such claims or statements;

(2) The maximum amount of penalties and assessments for which the defendant may be held liable;

(3) A statement that the defendant may request a hearing by filing an answer and may be represented by a representative;

(4) Instructions for filing such an answer; and

(5) A warning that failure to file an answer within 30 days of service of the complaint will result in imposition of the maximum amount of penalties and assessments.

(c) The reviewing official must serve any complaint on the defendant and, if a hearing is requested by the defendant, provide a copy to the ALJ assigned to the case.

§681.8   How will the complaint be served?

(a) The complaint must be served on individual defendants directly, a partnership through a general partner, and on corporations or on unincorporated associations through an executive officer or a director, except that service also may be made on any person authorized by appointment or by law to receive process for the defendant.

(b) The complaint may be served either by:

(1) Registered or certified mail; or

(2) Personal delivery by anyone 18 years of age or older.

(c) The date of service is the date of personal delivery or, in the case of service by registered or certified mail, the date of postmark.

(d) When served with the complaint, the defendant should also be served with a copy of this part 681 and 31 U.S.C. 3801-3812.

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