SACRAMENTO, June 9, 2020 – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today voted to support AB 2570, legislation authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone and sponsored by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, that will strengthen the California False Claims Act (CFCA). The motion of support was introduced by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and was approved by a unanimous vote.
“California loses billions in tax revenue each year due to fraud and underpayment. AB 2570 enhances our office’s ability to go after major tax cheats who leave hard-working, honest-paying taxpayers carrying the burden,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We thank the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for supporting this measure on behalf of the 10 million residents they represent. In this time of major health and economic upheaval, we can’t allow tax evaders to shortchange our families of the critical services – education, healthcare, public safety, transportation – we count on.”
“I am grateful that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recognizes the importance of AB 2570 in protecting state and local governments from tax fraud,” said Assemblymember Stone. “This bill would ensure that whistleblowers can safely expose malfeasance which would otherwise never come to light.”
“No tolerance for tax fraud,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This bill is another tool in the legal toolbox to protect important city, county, and state programs and recover urgently needed funds for local communities. Thank you to Attorney General Becerra for advancing this important measure.”
Fraud and false claims against the government rob our state and local communities of funding necessary to support essential public services, such as improving our schools, providing healthcare and public safety, and fixing our roads. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, state and local governments face massive budget shortfalls and deficits, and the protection of every public dollar is essential. California’s taxing authorities can only go after fraud the agencies know about, and whistleblower cases typically reveal cases of fraud previously unknown to authorities.
Currently, the CFCA does not apply to tax fraud, including claims or statements made under the Revenue and Taxation Code. AB 2570 will give the Attorney General and local prosecutors additional legal tools under the CFCA to protect important city, county, and state programs and services against those committing egregious tax fraud. Additionally, the bill further incentivizes whistleblowers by providing more complete protections from discrimination and retaliation for reporting violations of the CFCA and by protecting them from civil liability for sharing confidential documents to provide evidence of a false claim.
A copy of the motion to support AB 2570 is available here.