Crackdown On Dirty Contractors

Attorney General vows to root out fraud in government contracts

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    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 02: New York Attorney General-elect Eric Schneiderman speaks to supporters on election night at the Sheraton New York November 2, 2010 in New York City. Schneiderman defeated Republican Dan Donovan. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says in his first major initiative that he'll crack down on fraud by government contractors and seek triple damages.

    Schneiderman says Thursday that by policing the billions of dollars spent annually with contractors, he hopes to recover millions of dollars from those that areunscrupulous and bill too much.
       
    The focus of the new Taxpayer Protection Unit includes public pension fund con artists and large-scale tax cheats.

    He also plans to bolster the agency's Medicaid anti-fraud efforts by assigning more prosecutors.

    Under the state's False Claims Act, defendants can be ordered to pay the government  triple damages and civil penalties.

    The office has more than 600 lawyers. The new unit was created by reassigning existing staff.