Liveblogging the Civil War False Claims Act: an early attempt at health-care fraud

by Ben Vernia | November 30th, 2012

On November 27, 1862, the New York Times reported that the Union army’s medical department foiled an attempt to defraud the government with bogus beef provided for use in military hospitals:

A few days since Surgeon-General HAMMOND received from EDWARD S. WAYNE, of Cincinnati, Ohio, samples of what purported to be “granulated beef ea,” prepared for hospital use. Mr. WAYNE wished to secure a contract to furnish the Medical Department with the article, and nearly succeeded in obtaining the sanction of the Surgeon-General, who, knowing the respectability of the parties offering it, had no suspicion of fraud. Previous, however, to entering into contract with them, the Surgeon-General placed the sample in the hands of Dr. WOODWARD with a view to ascertain, by chemical analysis, the amount of muscular fibre it contained, when, lost it was found to be nothing but starch, without a particle of beef in its composition.

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