NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT (EXCERPT)
Act 451 of 1994
324.21548 Knowledge of false, misleading, or fraudulent request for payment as felony or subject to civil fine; retroactive application; "fraudulent" or "fraudulent practice" defined; action brought by attorney general or county prosecutor; money owed as claim and lien; prosecutions under other laws not precluded; apportionment of fines.
(1) A person who makes or submits or causes to be made or submitted either directly or indirectly any statement, report, affidavit, application, claim, bid, work invoice, or other request for payment or indemnification under this part knowing that the statement, report, application, claim, bid, work invoice, or other request for payment or indemnification is false or misleading is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $50,000.00, or both. In addition to any penalty imposed under this subsection, a person convicted under this subsection shall pay restitution to the authority for the amount received in violation of this subsection.
(2) A person who makes or submits or causes to be made or submitted either directly or indirectly any statement, report, application, claim, bid, work invoice, or other request for payment or indemnification under this part knowing that the statement, report, affidavit, application, claim, bid, work invoice, or other request for payment or indemnification is false, misleading, or fraudulent, or who commits a fraudulent practice, is subject to a civil fine of not more than $50,000.00 or twice the amount submitted, whichever is greater. In addition to any civil fine imposed under this subsection, a person found responsible under this subsection shall pay restitution to the authority for the amount received in violation of this subsection. The legislature intends that this subsection be given retroactive application.
(3) As used in subsection (2), "fraudulent" or "fraudulent practice" includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(a) Submitting a work invoice for the excavation, hauling, disposal, or provision of soil, sand, or backfill for an amount greater than the legal capacity of the carrying vehicle or greater than was actually carried, excavated, disposed, or provided.
(b) Submitting paperwork for services or work provided that was not in fact provided or that was not directly provided by the individual indicated on the paperwork.
(c) Contaminating an otherwise clean resource or site with contaminated soil or product from a contaminated resource or site.
(d) Returning any load of contaminated soil to its original site for reasons other than remediation of the soil.
(e) Causing damage intentionally or as the result of gross negligence to a refined petroleum underground storage tank system, which damage results in a release at a site.
(f) Placing a refined petroleum underground storage tank system at a contaminated site where no refined petroleum underground storage tank system previously existed for purposes of disguising the source of contamination or to obtain funding under this part.
(g) Submitting a work invoice for the excavation of soil from a site that was removed for reasons other than removal of the refined petroleum underground storage tank system or remediation.
(h) Any intentional act or act of gross negligence that causes or allows contamination to spread at a site.
(i) Registration of a nonexistent refined petroleum underground storage tank system with the department.
(j) Loaning to an owner or operator the deductible amount and then submitting or causing to be submitted inflated claims or invoices designed to recoup the deductible amount.
(k) Confirming a release without simultaneously providing notice to the owner or operator.
(l) Inflating bills or work invoices, or both, by adding charges for work that was not performed.
(m) Submitting a false or misleading laboratory report.
(n) Submitting bills or work invoices, or both, for sampling, testing, monitoring, or excavation that are not justified by the site condition.
(o) Falsely characterizing the contents of a refined petroleum underground storage tank system for purposes of obtaining funding under this part.
(p) Submitting or causing to be submitted bills or work invoices by or from a person who did not directly provide the service.
(q) Characterizing legal services as consulting services for purposes of obtaining funding under this part.
(r) Misrepresenting or concealing the identity, credentials, affiliation, or qualifications of principals or persons seeking, either directly or indirectly, funding or approval for participation under this part.
(s) Falsifying a signature on a claim application or a work invoice.
(t) Failing to accurately disclose the actual amount and carrier of unencumbered insurance coverage available for new environmental impairment or professional liability claims.
(u) Any other act or omission of a false, fraudulent, or misleading nature undertaken in order to obtain funding under this part.
(4) The attorney general or county prosecutor may conduct an investigation of an alleged violation of this section and bring an action for a violation of this section.
(5) If the attorney general or county prosecutor has reasonable cause to believe that a person has information or is in possession, custody, or control of any document or records, however stored or embodied, or tangible object which is relevant to an investigation of a violation or attempted violation of this part or a crime or attempted crime against the fund, the attorney general or county prosecutor may, before bringing any action, make an ex parte request to a magistrate for issuance of a subpoena requiring that person to appear and be examined under oath or to produce the document, records, or object for inspection and copying, or both. Service may be accomplished by any means described in the Michigan court rules. Requests made by the attorney general may be brought in Ingham county.
(6) If a person objects to or otherwise fails to comply with a subpoena served under subsection (5), an action may be brought in district court to enforce the demand. Actions filed by the attorney general may be brought in Ingham county.
(7) The attorney general or county prosecutor may apply to the district court for an order granting immunity to any person who refuses to provide or objects to providing information, documents, records, or objects sought pursuant to this section. If the judge is satisfied that it is in the interest of justice that immunity be granted, he or she shall enter an order granting immunity to the person and requiring the person to appear and be examined under oath or to produce the document, records, or object for inspection and copying, or both.
(8) A person who fails to comply with a subpoena issued pursuant to subsection (5) or a requirement to appear and be examined pursuant to subsection (7) is subject to a civil fine of not more than $25,000.00 for each day of continued noncompliance.
(9) In addition to any civil fines or criminal penalties imposed under this part or the criminal laws of this state, the person found responsible shall repay any money obtained directly or indirectly under this part. Money owed pursuant to this section constitutes a claim and lien by the authority upon any real or personal property owned either directly or indirectly by the person. This lien shall attach regardless of whether the person is insolvent and may not be extinguished or avoided by bankruptcy. The lien imposed by this section has the force and effect of a first in time and right judgment lien.
(10) Subsection (1) does not preclude prosecutions under other laws of the state including, but not limited to, section 157a, 218, 248, 249, 280, or 422 of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.157a, 750.218, 750.248, 750.249, 750.280, and 750.422.
(11) All civil fines collected pursuant to this section shall be apportioned in the following manner:
(a) Fifty percent shall be deposited in the general fund and shall be used by the department to fund fraud investigations under this part.
(b) Twenty-five percent shall be paid to the office of the county prosecutor or attorney general, whichever office brought the action.
(c) Twenty-five percent shall be paid to a local police department or sheriff's office, or a city or county health department, if investigation by that office or department led to the bringing of the action. If more than 1 office or department is eligible for payment under this subsection, division of payment shall be on an equal basis. If there is not a local office or department that is entitled to payment under this subdivision, the money shall be forwarded to the state treasurer for deposit into the refined petroleum fund.
History: 1994, Act 451, Eff. Mar. 30, 1995
Am. 1996, Act 181, Imd. Eff. May 3, 1996
Am. 2004, Act 390, Imd. Eff. Oct. 12, 2004
Am. 2014, Act 416, Imd. Eff. Dec. 30, 2014
Popular Name: Act 451
Popular Name: NREPA
© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan