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Health care fraud remains a key target of the federal False Claims Act, according to the Justice Dept.'s annual report on recoveries made under the statute. The study, along with recent legislative developments, indicate that the government is stepping up its enforcement activities in this area, experts said.

Health care cases made up the lion's share of false claims settlements and judgments in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, bringing in $1.6 billion, or two-thirds of the total $2.4 billion recouped. The statute gives federal officials authority to prosecute fraudulent billing of any government program.