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DOJ Enforcement Actions

The Department of Justice is the principal federal agency authorized to enforce the laws and defend the interests of the United States. As such, it oversees the enforcement of the False Claims Act, the foundation of the American whistleblower system, as well as numerous other laws.

The agency traces its origins to the Judiciary Act of 1789 which created the Office of the Attorney General, and the 1870 Act to Establish the Department of Justice, which established the agency as “an executive department of the government of the United States” with the Attorney General as its head.

The agency is comprised of numerous divisions with the Civil Division and in some instances, the Criminal Division, overseeing investigations and prosecutions under the False Claims Act. The U.S. Attorneys Office of the federal district where the False Claims Act case is filed also plays a key role in False Claims Act enforcement.

Below are summaries of recent DOJ settlements or successful resolutions under the False Claims Act as well as other successful prosecutions for fraud and misconduct. If you believe you have information about fraud which could give  rise to a claim for a whistleblower reward, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced whistleblower attorneys.

October 17, 2018

A former financial advisor turned online sportswear retailer has been convicted of numerous counts of fraud for running a $20 million Ponzi scheme. Between 2014 and 2017, Dawn Bennett allegedly convinced investors to invest in her company, DJB Holdings, by misrepresenting its financial health and the investment risks. With the money she obtained from 46 investors, many of them elderly, Bennett paid legal expenses and repaid earlier investors. After the fraud was discovered, Bennett allegedly arranged to have priests in India perform protective spells on her behalf. Unfortunately for her, the spells did not work as intended, and she now faces a lifetime in prison. USAO MD

October 17, 2018

An investment advisor who owned and operated an investment firm called CM Capital Management LLC has plead guilty to running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded 53 investors of $6.1 million over the course of 13 years. In at least 13 of those cases, the investors with Edward Lee Moody, Jr.'s firm were elderly people who had entrusted him with their life savings. Instead of investing the funds on his clients' behalf, Moody used them to buy securities for himself, as well as buy a home, make car payments, and travel. To cover his tracks, he paid earlier investors using funds obtained from newer investors and created falsified statements that showed earned returns. Yet the reality was that in most of those cases, Moody hadn't even opened brokerage accounts for his clients, let alone buy securities on their behalf. He now faces a sentence of decades in prison at his sentencing in February. USAO EDVA

October 16, 2018

Two doctors and three nurses were sentenced to prison for their roles in fraudulently billing Medicare $11 million through claims submitted by two companies—Timely Home Health Services Inc., a home health provider, and Boomer House Calls, a house call provider, both in the Dallas area. The scheme allegedly took place from 2007 to 2015 and involved falsifying records so it appeared that Medicare beneficiaries received home health services when in fact they did not. The five defendants will serve sentences ranging from as little as 6 months to as much as 10 years in prison. DOJ

October 16, 2018

Nomura Holding America Inc. and its affiliates have agreed to pay a civil penalty of $480 million to settle claims that it knowingly misled investors of its residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) in the years leading up to the financial crisis of 2008. From 2006 to 2007, Nomura allegedly marketed falsely to investors that its due diligence process was "industry leading," despite knowing that many of the loans it sold did not comply with regulations, or had not even gone through their due diligence process. Among the investors defrauded were Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, retirement funds, and university endowments. USAO EDNY

October 16, 2018

Sudhakar Reddy Bonthu, a former manager at Equifax, was sentenced to 8 months of home confinement and fined $50,000 for insider trading related to Equifax's massive data breach in 2017. As a member of a team tasked with quickly developing an online user interface for 100 million possible victims of a data breach at an unnamed company, Bonthu quickly guessed that the company in question was the one he worked for. In violation of company policy as well as federal law, Bonthu then allegedly bought a large quantity of Equifax stock, specifically put options, which allowed him to profit if the value plummeted within a two week period. Six days later, Equifax announced the breach and its stock value plummeted, netting Bonthu more than $75,000 in fraudulently gained profits. USAO NDGA

October 15, 2018

The CEO of Tri-County Wellness Group, Mashiyat Rashid, has plead guilty and agreed to forfeit millions of dollars worth of ill-gotten funds and property in connection with a $150 million healthcare fraud. Over the course of almost 10 years, Rashid and physicians working in his pain clinics allegedly prescribed millions of units of medically unnecessary painkillers to Medicare beneficiaries, whom they also subjected to medically unnecessary but expensive injections. A similar fraud was repeated at laboratories owned by Rashid, with medically unnecessary but expensive urine tests for drugs. When Medicare realized that none of the claims were reimbursable, Rashid and others created fake companies to perpetuate the fraud. DOJ

October 15, 2018

The heir of a family skincare business has been sentenced to almost 3 years in prison for multiple counts of tax fraud. James Wright of B&P Company, Inc.—which has been selling a wrinkle reduction product called Frownies since 1889—allegedly diverted money from the company to a series of entities that he then used to fund personal expenses. Through a company he called The Remnant, Inc., Wright paid rent and utilities for himself and other immediate family members. Through a private foundation he called Fore Fathers Foundation, he paid high school and college tuition for his five children. According to the DOJ press release, Wright had previously pleaded guilty to concealing income through trusts. In addition to the new prison sentence, he is ordered to pay almost restitution of $150,000. DOJ

October 15, 2018

Indal Technologies Inc. has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle claims that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly selling the U.S. Navy helicopter landing systems that used substandard steel. The alleged fraud by Indal Technologies involved the substitution of a stronger steel for a weaker, less inexpensive steel in a component that helps secure a landing helicopter onto certain Navy destroyers. Due to the possibility of rough winds and seas during landing, it is crucial for this component to be made of high strength steel. DOJ; USAO NJ

October 15, 2018

Alpha Research & Technology, Inc. (ART) has agreed to pay $1 million to settle False Claims Act-based allegations of defense contract fraud. From 2006 to 2011, the command and control systems provider allegedly submitted inflated subcontractor pricing proposals to contractors who then unknowingly included the false claims in proposals submitted to the Department of Defense. Among the expenses claimed by ART were the personal expenses of co-owners Donne and DeAnne Smith for designing and constructing a luxury home, luxury cars, and luxury getaways. USAO EDCA

October 12, 2018

A father and son duo has plead guilty to causing over $27 million in losses from Affordable Care Act (ACA) programs in twelve states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. Jeffrey and Nicholas White of California allegedly made a living from drug rehabilitation centers through patient referral bonuses and cuts of money paid out by ACA programs. To maximize their profits, they enrolled participants in ACA programs in high paying states, regardless of whether the participants even lived in that state. The Whites also went to great lengths to further the fraud, including creating fictitious contact information, paying patients' insurance premiums, and paying for their transport to out-of-state rehabilitation centers. They each face a maximum of 10 years in prison. USAO CT
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