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State Enforcement Actions

Each state enforces its laws and defends its interests, and states often work with the federal government in investigating and prosecuting corporate frauds.  Whistleblowers with knowledge of fraud or wrongful conduct that involves state or local funds or programs may be able to bring a claim under a state or local False Claims Act, and may be eligible to receive a monetary reward and protection against retaliation.

Below are summaries of recent settlements, successful prosecutions, and enforcement actions by states. If you believe you have information about fraud which could give rise to a claim under a State or Local False Claims Act or other whistleblower reward provision, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced whistleblower attorneys.

August 25, 2020

American Honda Motor Co., and Honda of America Mfg., Inc. (Honda) has reached a settlement with the Attorney Generals of 48 states and agreed to pay $85.1 million to resolve allegations of failing to disclose certain airbag safety failures to regulators and ­­­customers of Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the United States.  According to the complaint, Honda engineers were aware that the propellant used in Takata-manufactured airbags—used in Honda and Acura vehicles since 2001—could burn aggressively, cause the inflator to burst, and ultimately harm drivers and passengers, yet continued to represent that its cars were safe even as it began recalling affected vehicles in 2008.  Although the company eventually recalled approximately 12.9 million vehicles, the recalls came too late and the failures resulted in at least 14 deaths and over 200 injuries nationwide.  AG CA; AG FL; AG NY; AG GA

August 11, 2020

The former owner of Texas-based All Smiles Dental Center has been ordered to pay $16.5 million to the State of Texas for improperly billing Texas Medicaid for tens of millions of dollars in services that he did not deliver, including services allegedly performed while he was vacationing abroad.  In total, Dr. Richard Malouf was found to have committed 1,842 unlawful acts under the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act.  AG TX

July 30, 2020

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), now known as DXC Technology, and New York City have agreed to pay approximately $2.8 million to resolve allegations of violating the federal and New York State False Claims Acts in connection with New York City’s Early Intervention Program (EIP), which provides speech and physical therapy services for infants and toddlers with possible developmental disabilities.  According to a qui tam lawsuit, while retained by the City to process and submit its EIP claims to various insurers, CSC allegedly received permission from the City to categorize claims submitted to private insurers as “denied” if no response was received within 90 days.  CSC then resubmitted those claims to Medicaid using an improper code, causing Medicaid to make payments it would not have otherwise.  For revealing the misconduct, the unnamed whistleblower in this case will receive $416,250.  AG NY; USAO SDNY

July 28, 2020

A pharmaceutical company accused of paying illegal inducements to physicians has agreed to pay $3.5 million to resolve allegations of violating the False Claims Act.  In order to induce physicians to prescribe its newly-launched local analgesic, EXPAREL, Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc. allegedly paid doctors kickbacks that were half-heartedly disguised as grant money for research.  In order to receive the so-called research grant, Pacira required EXPAREL to be placed on formulary at the physician’s institution, but did not document why such research was needed or follow up on research results.  The fraud was eventually exposed by a pharmacist in a qui tam suit; the pharmacist will receive $638,000 as part of the settlement.  USAO NJ; AG FL

July 22, 2020

Tony Garrett Taylor has been sentenced to 8 years in prison and ordered to pay over $6 million to the North Carolina Medicaid program and over $1 million to the IRS after pleading guilty to committing healthcare fraud and tax evasion.  Along with his brother, Jerry Lewis Taylor, the defendant conspired to use outpatient behavioral health services companies owned and operated by the brothers to submit false claims to Medicaid for services that were either never provided or misrepresented.  Jerry Lewis Taylor has also pleaded guilty and is currently awaiting sentencing.  AG NC

July 21, 2020

The Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART), a quasi-public transportation authority that brokers medical transportation, will pay $300,000 to resolve allegations that it improperly caused false claims to be submitted to MassHealth, the Massachusetts state Medicaid program. MART allegedly did not have appropriate procedures in place to verify that its transportation subcontractors had actually provided rides as they claimed, and MART billed MassHealth for thousands of rides that were not, in fact, provided. MA; USAO MA

July 13, 2020

The owner and operator of a skilled nursing facility has agreed to pay $1 million to settle allegations of submitting false claims to Medi-Cal in violation of the California False Claims Act.  According to the Attorney General, Legacy Post-Acute Rehabilitation Center (Legacy) failed to provide the minimum number of nursing hours required for the level of care that it billed for.  AG CA

July 10, 2020

Universal Health Services, Inc. and UHS of Delaware, Inc. (collectively, UHS), and a Georgia-based UHS facility, Turning Point Care Center, LLC, have agreed to pay a combined $122 million to settle 18 qui tam cases pending in four jurisdictions.  In violation of the False Claims Act, UHS allegedly billed federal healthcare programs—including Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the Federal Employee Health Benefit programs—for medically unnecessary inpatient behavioral health services, failed to provide adequate or appropriate services, and paid illegal inducements to beneficiaries of those programs.  UHS will pay over $88 million to the federal government and nearly $29 million to individual states, for a combined penalty of $117 million, with a relator share of about $15.8 million.  Turning Point will pay $5 million to the federal government and the State of Georgia; the whistleblower in that case will receive $861,853.64.  USAO MDFL; USAO NDGA; USAO EDPA; AG FL; AG MI; AG NC; AG VA

July 7, 2020

Deutsche Bank AG and Deutsche Bank Trust Company America will pay a $150 million penalty to New York in a settlement with the State’s Department of Financial Services resolving charges that the bank failed to adequately monitor the activity of its customer Jeffrey Epstein and failed to adequately monitor its international corresponding banking relationships with Danske Bank Estonia and FBME Bank.  In the case of Epstein, Deutsche Bank processed hundreds of transactions totaling millions of dollars that allegedly should have prompted additional scrutiny.  In the case of Danske Bank and FBME, Deutsche Bank was alleged to have been put on notice that those foreign banks were engaged in money laundering but, despite assigning the highest risk ratings to those institutions, failed to take appropriate actions to prevent the processing of suspicious transactions by those banks through Deutsche Bank accounts.  NY

July 2, 2020

The Lithuanian Assistance Foundation, together with several of its individual officers and directors, will pay $7 million and be dissolved.  The settlement resolves claims of charity fraud based on allegations that property interests donated to the Foundation were improperly transferred to members of the board, their relatives, and employees at prices significantly below the fair market value.  The Foundation failed to disclose the transfers in regulatory filings, and filed false registration renewals.  CA
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