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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 6, 2021

Defense contractor Crane Company has agreed to pay over $4.5 million to resolve allegations of violating the False Claims Act.  According to a former Crane employee, Corla Jacobson, the failures occurred between 2011 and 2017 and involved selling the U.S. Navy high performance butterfly valves that did not conform to military specifications.  For initiating a successful qui tam action, Jacobson will receive a relator’s share of over $850,000.  USAO SDTX

September 27, 2021

Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corporation and its affiliates, Devon Energy Corp. and Devon Energy Production Company, LP (collectively, “Devon”) have agreed to pay $6.15 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act.  As a lessee of federal land, the oil and natural gas exploration and production company was required to pay royalties on gas found and produced on that land, as well as put the gas in marketable condition on its own dime.  According to the allegations, however, Devon underreported and underpaid royalties to the Department of the Interior by improperly deducting payments made to third-parties, including payments made to put the gas in marketable condition.  USAO CO

September 23, 2021

Index Systems, Inc. and Capital Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG), two government contractors in Virginia, have agreed to pay nearly $1.2 million to settle allegations of violating the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Act.  In order to fraudulently obtain Small Business Administration contracts reserved for businesses owned by socially or economically disadvantaged citizens, CCG—which was not eligible—allegedly conspired with Index to use Index’s certification to bid on the contracts, in exchange for kickbacks.  USAO EDVA

September 23, 2021

Shipping company Diana Wilhelmsen Management Limited was ordered to pay $2 million following its admissions that it violated the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.  DWM admitted that its vessel, M/V Protefs, unlawfully discharged oily bilge water and knowingly kept a false oil record book.  DOJ; USAO ED LA

September 22, 2021

Jonathan Dean Davis, the owner of the Retail Ready Career Center, a for-profit trade school, was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison following his conviction on fraud charges.  Davis marketed his school’s HVAC training course to veterans by falsely securing certification of his program by Texas state agencies in order qualify the program to charge veterans’ tuition and fees to the Veteran’s Administration under the Veteran’s Educational Assistance Act.  In fact, Retail Ready used up veteran’s GI Bill benefits and failed to prepare them for careers while collecting more than $72 million in GI Bill benefits from the VA.  Davis was also ordered to pay $65.2 million in restitution and forfeit $72.5 million.  USAO ND TX

September 21, 2021

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), East Carolina University (ECU), and the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (NCCV), have agreed to pay a combined $842,500 to resolve allegations of fraud in connection with the AmeriCorps program.  An investigation by the United States had found that UNC-CH, ECU, and NCCV failed to comply with multiple grant requirements and regulations, including falsely certifying the service hours worked by AmeriCorps members, falsely certifying employee salaries required to administer the program, and failing to maintain proper internal controls.  USAO EDNC

September 15, 2021

Ronald Montano and his company, Montano Enterprises LLC, have been ordered to pay $2.5 million in restitution and civil monetary penalty for using fraudulent solicitations in connection with binary options with commodity interests.  The solicitations misrepresented automated trading systems as successful, using fictitious trading results, fabricated customer testimonials, and falsified background information on the systems’ creators.  CFTC

September 15, 2021

A cardiologist in Florida who allegedly billed Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary procedures has agreed to pay $6.75 million to resolve claims under the False Claims Act.  Between 2013 and 2019, Dr. Ashish Pal allegedly made misrepresentations in patient medical records to justify ablations and vein stent procedures that were not reimbursable under program rules.  Additionally, some of the procedures were later found to have been performed primarily by unqualified ultrasound technicians.  As part of the settlement, Pal and Interventional Cardiology & Vascular Consultants, PLC, will enter in a multiyear integrity agreement and comply with training and reporting requirements, as well as a quarterly claims review by an independent organization.  USAO MDFL

September 8, 2021

Bayada Home Health Care, Inc. and related entities agreed to pay $17 million to resolve allegations of paying unlawful kickbacks that were initiated by a whistleblower action under the False Claims Act.  The government alleged that Bayada purchased two home health care agencies from a company that owned retirement communities in order to induce referrals from the seller to Bayada.  The whistleblower, David Freedman, was the director of strategic growth for Bayada; he will receive more than $3 million as a whistleblower reward.  DOJ; USAO NJ

September 3, 2021

A number of South Carolina pain management clinics, drug testing laboratories and other entities associated with chiropractor Daniel McCollum have had default judgments entered against them ordering the payment of $140 million.  The defendant entities, Oaktree Medical Centre P.C., FirstChoice Healthcare P.C., Labsource LLC, Pain Management Associates entities, ProLab LLC, and ProCare Counseling Center LLC, were alleged to have provided illegal financial incentives to providers to induce their referrals of urine drug tests in violation of the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute, and to have submitted false claims to federal healthcare programs for medically unnecessary urine drug testing, steroid injections, opioid prescriptions, and lidocaine ointment prescriptions.  The settlement resolves claims against the entities brought in three separate qui tam actions Donna Rauch, Muriel Calhoun, Brandy Knight, Karen Mathewson and Tracy Hawkins, former employees of pain management clinics owned or operated by McCollum. The government continues to pursue claims against McCollum.  DOJ; USAO SC
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