Proving a Violation of the False Claims Act Through Deliberate Ignorance

Joel D. Hesch, Liberty University

Document Type Article


When Congress amended the False Claims Act (FCA) in 1986, it established three separate and distinct ways to establish requisite knowledge. A person violates the FCA when they (1) have actual knowledge, (2) act with deliberate ignorance of the truth, or (3) act in reckless disregard of the truth. The three FCA knowledge standards are differentiated not by ease of proof but by specific application. Merely because deliberate ignorance is the least common standard does not make it less important or harder to prove. This Article gathers and evaluates the handful of Circuit Courts of Appeals cases that specifically address deliberate ignorance and proposes a uniform and proper standard to guide courts and practitioners on the proper meaning and usage of deliberate ignorance.