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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.

September 26, 2022

Biogen Inc. has agreed to pay $900 million to resolve allegations by former employee Michael Bawduniak that the pharmaceutical company paid illegal kickbacks to physicians in order to induce prescriptions of their multiple sclerosis drugs, causing false claims to be submitted to Medicare and Medicaid.  According to Bawduniak, over a five-year period, Biogen paid kickbacks in the form of speaker honoraria, training fees, consulting fees, and free meals.  The vast majority of the settlement proceeds (over $840 million) will go to the federal government, while the remainder will be divided among 15 states.  USAO MA

September 15, 2022

Brazil’s second largest airline, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A. (GOL), has agreed to pay $70 million to the SEC and $41 million to civil and criminal authorities in the U.S. and Brazil to resolve charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  The airline allegedly offered and paid $3.8 million in bribes to various officials in Brazil to help usher in legislation involving certain payroll taxes and fuel tax reductions that were favorable to the airline.  DOJ; SEC

September 14, 2022

Illinois-based pharmaceutical company Akorn Operating Company LLC has agreed to pay $7.9 million to resolve allegations of violating the False Claims Act by causing Medicare to pay for three generic drugs that stopped being eligible for coverage when their original manufacturers converted the brand name drugs from prescription only to over-the-counter.  According to a whistleblower, the brand name drugs in question were converted in February 2020 and June 2021, but Akorn knowingly failed to seek conversion of their generics until a year later because it knew over-the-counter drugs were non-reimbursable.  USAO MA

September 12, 2022

A man who operated a Ponzi scheme that procured over $5 million from victims in Puerto Rico and the continental U.S. has been sentenced to over 11 years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $2 million in restitution to 46 victims.  Carlos Maldonado was found to have misrepresented his companies as legitimate businesses, and failed to disclose to investors that their funds would be used for his own purposes, including buying and trading stocks on his personal accounts, and paying off personal auto loans payments.  USAO PR

September 9, 2022

Daniel Pintado Cazola, the true owner of durable medical equipment company Myers Professional Services, has been sentenced to over 7 years in prison for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid and going to great extents to conceal his connection to the crimes.  Pintado Cazola admitted that he purchased lists of Medicare beneficiaries and directed employees to submit over $2.3 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid for durable medical equipment that was not medically necessary, not prescribed by a doctor, and not supplied to a beneficiary.  USAO SDFL

September 2, 2022

Bayer Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, will pay $40 million to settle claims initiated by a whistleblower alleging that the pharmaceutical manufacturer violated the False Claims Act by engaging in off-label marketing, unlawful kickbacks, and misreporting of safety risks with respect to its drugs Trasylol, Avelox, and Baycol.  The whistleblower, former Bayer marketing employee Laurie Simpson, will receive approximately $11 million from the settlement.  DOJ; USAO MN; USAO NJ

September 1, 2022

Philips RS North America LLC, formerly known as Respironics, will pay over $24 million to settle claims that it provided unlawful inducements to DME suppliers in the form of physician prescribing data that the DME suppliers could use in their marketing efforts.  The case was initiated by a qui tam complaint filed by former Respironics employee Jeremy Orling, who will receive a whistleblower award of approximately $4.3 millionDOJ; USAO SC

August 30, 2022

Medical device manufacturer Philips North America has agreed to pay $4.2 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by falsely certifying that mobile patient monitoring devices it sold to military purchasers met standards for airworthiness and passed safe-to-fly testing required to ensure that medical devices can safely be used in aircraft.  As part of the settlement, Philips admitted that after receiving initial approval in 2008, it made modifications to the device but did not inform government purchasers of those modifications, so that a determination could be made if re-testing was required.  USAO MA

August 30, 2022

Vision Quest Industries, Inc., which manufactures knee braces and other durable medical equipment, has agreed to pay $2.25 million to resolve claims that it violated the Anti-Kickback Statute by paying commissions to an independent sales representative based on VQ’s net revenue for each knee brace ordered by a particular purchaser which then, in turn, submitted claims for payment to Medicare.  The settlement with VQ follows earlier settlements in 2020 and 2019USAO MN
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