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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.

April 24, 2019

Two executives of Arriva Medical, LLC, a mail-order diabetic testing supply company acquired by Alere, Inc. in 2011, will pay a total of $1 million to settle claims that they caused Arriva to submit false claims to Medicare by supplying patients with free or no cost home blood glucose meters, waiving patient copayments, and billing for medically unnecessary home blood glucose meters.  USAO MD TN

April 23, 2019

Oregon-based aluminum supplier Hydro Extrusion Portland, Inc., formerly known as Sapa Profiles Inc., together with its parent company, has agreed to pay $47 million to settle criminal mail fraud charges and civil claims alleging that between 1996 and 2015, the company altered the results of tensile tests measuring the consistency and reliability of extruded aluminum, and falsified certifications about products meeting testing requirements and contract specifications. Among the customers who received products that defendants knew did not meet contract specifications were NASA and the Dept. of Defense Missile Defense Agency.  The $47 million total settlement payment consists of forfeiture of $1.8 million, $34.1 million in criminal restitution to NASA, DOD, and commercial customers – $23.6 million of which is also credited to resolve civil claims under the False Claims Act – and an additional $11 million in payments to resolve civil FCA claims.  Defendant entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and has been  suspended as a U.S. government contractor.  DOJ; USAO EDVA

April 15, 2019

Munich-based UniCredit Bank AG (UCB AG) and affiliated entities have agreed to pay more than $1.3 billion to resolve criminal charges and related allegations of unlawful conduct by the Department of Justice, Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Federal Reserve, the New York Department of Financial Services, and the New York County District Attorney's Office. As part of the settlement, UniCredit admitted that between 2002 and 2011 it processed financial transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars through U.S. financial institutions on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and other entities subject to sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).  DOJ; Treasury; Fed; DANY

April 12, 2019

California-based Sutter Health LLC and its affiliated medical foundations will pay $30 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that they submitted unsupported diagnosis codes for certain patients, thereby inflating the the risk scores for those patients.  These inflated risk scores increased Medicare Advantage payments to Medicare Advantage Organizations with whom Sutter contracted.  Sutter's contracts with the MAOs gave Sutter a share of those improper increased payments.  DOJ; USAO ND Cal

April 9, 2019

A number of telemedicine and durable medical equipment companies, the principals of those companies, and three healthcare providers, were charged with submitting over $1.7 billion in false claims in a scheme to pay unlawful kickbacks and bribes from DME companies in exchange for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries by medical professionals working with fraudulent telemedicine companies for medically unnecessary DME including back, shoulder, wrist and knee braces.  DOJ; USAO MD FL; USAO NJ; USAO SC.

April 9, 2019

London-based Standard Chartered Bank has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to resolve criminal charges and related allegations of unlawful conduct by the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Federal Reserve, the New York Department of Financial Services, the New York County District Attorney's Office, and the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority. As part of the settlement, Standard Chartered admitted that it processed thousands of financial transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars through U.S. financial institutions for the benefit of Iranian and other entities and individuals subject to sanctions. In addition, Standard Chartered admitted that it had deficiencies in its compliance programs and had falsified the records of New York financial institutions.  In addition to the financial penalties, Standard Chartered agreed to the extension of an existing deferred prosecution agreement through 2021, and committed to undertaking specified compliance initiatives.  DOJ; Treasury; Fed; DANY; UK

April 9, 2019

Univar USA, Inc. has agreed to pay $62.5 million to settle claims that it engaged in unlawful transshipment of saccharin manufactured in China in order to evade antidumping duties.  Univar purchased the saccharin from a supplier in Taiwan, but was alleged to be grossly negligent or negligent in failing to identify that the Taiwan-based company was not the manufacturer, but simply had imported the saccharin from China for transshipment to the U.S.  Univar allegedly evaded $36 million in antidumping duties.  DOJ

April 9, 2019

Antonio Carlos de Godoy Buzaneli of Florida was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in a scheme that raised approximately $150 million from investors for his company Providence Holdings International, Inc., which Buzaneli represented would invest in the factoring of accounts receivable in Brazil. In fact, much of the investors’ funds were used to make Ponzi-style payments to other investors, and to make commission payments to Providence’s nationwide network of brokers. USAO Minn

April 5, 2019

Philip Esformes of Miami Beach, Florida, was found guilty of crimes arising from his role in the submission of over $1.3 billion in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid.  According to evidence introduced at trial, between 1998 and 2016, Esformes, who owned a network of assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, bribed physicians to admit patients into his facilities, which were in poor condition and unable to provide adequate treatment. Patients often failed to receive appropriate medical services, or received medically unnecessary services.  Esformes will be sentenced at a later date. USAO SD FL

April 4, 2019

Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Jazz), Lundbeck LLC (Lundbeck), and Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Alexion) will pay a total of $122.6 million to settle allegations they violated the False Claims Act by having improper kickback schemes and for illegally paying Medicare and Civilian Health and Medical Program (ChampVA) copays for their own products. Under the terms of the settlement, Jazz agreed to pay $57 million, Lundbeck agreed to pay $52.6 million, and Alexion will be paying $13 million. DOJ  
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