United States v. Wells Fargo, No. 18-1746 (2d Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment granting Wells Fargo's motion to dismiss. Relators alleged that the district court erred in concluding that fraudulent loan requests knowingly presented to one or more of the Federal Reserve System's twelve Federal Reserve Banks (FRBs) are not "claims" within the meaning of the False Claims Act (FCA), and thus do not give rise to FCA liability.
The court held that the FCA's definition of a "claim" is capacious. The court explained that, although FRB personnel are not officers or employees of the United States, the FRBs administered the Federal Reserve System's emergency lending facilities on behalf of the United States, using authority delegated by Congress and money provided by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Therefore, the court concluded that the FRBs are agents of the United States within the meaning of 31 U.S.C. 3729(b)(2)(A)(i). The court also held that the money requested by defendants and other Fed borrowers is provided by the United States to advance a Government program or interest within the meaning of section 3729(b)(2)(A)(ii).