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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.

July 16, 2021

Florida Neurological Center, LLC and its owner Dr. Lance Kim have agreed to settle a whistleblower-brought suit and pay $800,000 to resolve allegations of defrauding Medicare.  The qui tam suit by Michael Singbush, Andrea Herrera, and Harvey Kessler Meyer, IV alleged that Dr. Kim prescribed medically unnecessary prescription drugs, which cost Medicare $35,000 each time it was prescribed.  For their role in the successful enforcement action, the whistleblowers will share in a $144,000 award.  USAO MDFL

July 16, 2021

New Jersey-based Environmental Safety International Inc. (ESI), its co-owners Joseph and Sean Carney, and its telemarketer Raymond Carney, have agreed to pay $1.66 million of a suspended $10.2 million in civil penalties to resolve allegations of violating the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) in millions of unlawful telemarketing calls to sell septic tank cleaning products.  According to the DOJ, the defendants directed the calls to numbers on the National Do-Not-Call Registry, failed to disclose the seller’s identity, and threatened customers with legal action or debt collection if they failed to pay.  As part of the settlement, ESI will be dissolved and the individual defendants are barred from participating in further telemarketing activities.  DOJ

July 14, 2021

Following a lawsuit filed by the FTC in 2018, online lender LendingClub has agreed to pay $18 million to settle claims of deceiving consumers about hidden fees, misrepresenting consumers’ approvals for loans, and withdrawing money from consumer bank accounts without authorization.  In addition to the monetary penalty, LendingClub is now required to clearly and conspicuously disclose all fees, as well as the total amount of funds being borrowed.  FTC

July 12, 2021

The Florida Department of Children and Families (FDCF) has agreed to pay $17.5 million and forgo payment of $14.7 million in unpaid bonuses to resolve allegations that it submitted false information to the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which was known as the Food Stamp Program until 2008.  Although the USDA reimburses states for administering SNAP, it relies on the states to determine applicant eligibility, administer benefits, and perform quality control.  FDCF allegedly failed to have proper quality control procedures in place, resulting in false information submitted to the USDA, for which they received unentitled performance bonuses from 2011 through 2014.  USAO EDWA

July 9, 2021

Genetworx Laboratories, a diagnostic laboratory in Virginia, has agreed to pay $1.4 million to resolve allegations of submitting false claims to Medicare in violation of the False Claims Act.  Over the course of a year, Genetworx allegedly billed for genetic tests that were performed on groups of senior citizens in senior homes without valid physician oversight.  USAO NJ

July 8, 2021

Alere Inc. and Alere San Diego Inc. have agreed to pay nearly $39 million to settle allegations of knowingly selling defective blood coagulation monitors, which are used to determine safe dosages of anticoagulant drugs, to Medicare beneficiaries.  Too much anticoagulant could result in massive bleeding, while too little can result in blood clots and strokes.  By 2008, Alere had allegedly become aware of the fact that the software used in its INRatio monitors contained a material defect that caused some patients to see inaccurate results.  Although the company was also aware of dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries associated with the devices, it failed to take them off the market and even continued to bill Medicare for them, in violation of the False Claims Act, until the FDA requested a Class I recall in 2016.  USAO NJ

June 28, 2021

Surgical Care Affiliates, LLC and Orlando Center for Outpatient Surgery, LP have agreed to pay $3.4 million to resolve a whistleblower’s allegations that they billed Medicare and TRICARE for medically unnecessary kidney stone procedures.  The centers also engaged in an illegal kickback arrangement whereby urologist Dr. Patrick Hunter performed lithotripsy procedures in exchange for per-procedure payments from the Orlando Center.  For bringing a successful action, whistleblower Scott Thompson will receive a relator’s share of $748,000 from the settlement with SCA and the Orlando Center.  USAO MDFL

July 6, 2021

Defense contractor AAR Corp. and its subsidiary, AAR Airlift Group Inc., have agreed to pay $11 million to resolve allegations of knowingly failing to maintain U.S. military aircrafts in accordance with U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) contracts.  The alleged False Claims Act violations involved nine helicopters that were deemed not airworthy and not mission capable as a result of the failures.  A former Airlift employee who filed the underlying qui tam complaint, Christopher Harvey, will receive over $2 million as part of the settlement.  USAO SDIL

July 2, 2021

Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson of Sweden has been sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $16 million, including several properties and a resort in Thailand, in one of the largest cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes ever prosecuted in the United States.  Starting in 2011 until his arrest in Thailand in 2019, Karlsson induced thousands of investors from around the country and over 45 countries around the world to use cryptocurrency to purchase shares in an entity he called Eastern Metal Securities, by falsely claiming that it was run by award-winning economists and had zero risk of loss.  He then misappropriated at least $1.5 million to fund a lavish lifestyle for himself.  USAO NDCA; DOJ; SEC

July 2, 2021

An Ohio-based hospital system that has since been acquired by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation has agreed to pay over $21 million to resolve alleged violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, Physician Self-Referral Law, and False Claims Act.  Between 2010 and 2016, Akron General Health System (AGHS) allegedly paid area physician groups far above fair market value in order to induce referrals, then submitted claims arising from those illegal referrals to federal healthcare programs.  The settlement resolves a qui tam suit brought forth by former internal audit director at AGHS, Beverly Brouse, and Ethical Solutions LLC.  DOJ
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