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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 7, 2022

After over a decade on the run, Baron Matson of Australia has been sentenced to 5 years in prison, ordered to pay $4.3 million in restitution, and ordered to forfeit $1.3 million for deceiving investors in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee over twenty years ago.  Matson had misrepresented to investors that he and his father, Roger Matson—both operating under the surname Bronstein—earned large sums of money by betting on horse races, and that a $75,000 investment ahead of the 2000 Melbourne Cup would be guaranteed, with any profits distributed to investors after.  However, the Matsons disappeared with all the funds shortly after the race.  Baron Matson was discovered living under an alias in 2015, and after lengthy litigation, was extradited to the U.S. to face prosecution.  USAO MDFL

October 6, 2022

A man in Missouri who was convicted of committing healthcare fraud through various durable medical equipment companies has been sentenced to 3 years in prison and ordered to repay $7.5 millionJamie McCoy, who owned or operated AE Wellness LLC, Summit Medical Supply, Patriot Medical Supply, and DME Device Co., had worked in conjunction with marketing firms and a telemedicine doctor to cause fraudulent claims derived from illegal kickbacks to be submitted to Medicare and TRICARE.  After the scheme was discovered and McCoy and AE Wellness were suspended from further participation, two of McCoy’s associates opened the other companies to continue the fraud, while concealing McCoy’s role in the operation.  USAO EDMO

October 5, 2022

Quin Ngoc Rudin has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after causing more than $62 million in losses to the IRS and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) while on supervised release for another fraud scheme.  Through his California-based tax preparation business, Mana Tax Services, Rudin and his brother Thanh had filed a series of false PPP loan applications, with supporting false income tax returns, on behalf of professional athletes, small businesses, shell companies, and other business entities.  His actions caused over $19 million in losses to the IRS, and over $43 million in losses to the PPP.  USAO EDVA

October 4, 2022

Sebastian Vachon-Desjardins, a Canadian man who participated in a ransomware attack that affected victims around the world—including companies, municipalities, emergency services, hospitals, law enforcement, school districts, and higher education institutions—has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $21.5 million; a restitution order will be issued at a later date.  According to the government, Vachon-Desjardin’s NetWalker ransomware had taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to specifically target organizations in the healthcare sector.  USAO MDFL

October 4, 2022

A rancher who was convicted of defrauding two food companies out of $244 million, in one of the largest fraud schemes ever prosecuted in the Eastern District of Washington, has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison.  Cody Allen Easterday and his Easterday Ranches Inc. had entered into agreements with Tyson Foods and one other company, whereby the two food companies would advance Easterday funds for buying and raising cattle, then be repaid with interest after the cattle were slaughtered and sold.  Rather than buying and raising cattle, however, Easterday used the funds to cover losses incurred from commodity futures trading, benefit the ranch, and benefit himself.  Easterday also submitted false paperwork to the world’s largest financial derivatives exchange, the CME Group Inc., to exempt his ranch from certain position limits in live cattle futures contracts.  USAO EDWA

October 3, 2022

Medical sales representative Steven Monaco has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for orchestrating two fraud schemes that led to multimillion dollar losses to federal, state, and private health insurance plans.  In the first scheme, Monaco arranged for a doctor’s medical assistant to be placed on the payroll of a medical diagnostic laboratory in exchange for all of the doctor’s labwork.  In the second scheme, Monaco arranged for doctors to sign medically unnecessary prescriptions for expensive compounded medications, on behalf of patients they never evaluated, in exchange for illegal kickbacks.  Monaco received $36,000 from the first scheme and $350,000 from the second scheme, and caused over $4.6 million in losses to the insurance plans.  USAO NJ

September 30, 2022

The owners and operators of three home health care companies in Illinois, Patricia and Felix Omorogbe, have been sentenced to a combined 3.5 years in prison and ordered to pay a combined $8 million in restitution for paying illegal kickbacks to patient marketers in exchange for referrals of Medicare beneficiaries.  According to the DOJ, in addition to the kickbacks, Patricia Omorogbe, a registered nurse, also falsely certified that she performed assessments on patients, causing false claims to be submitted to Medicare.  DOJ

September 27, 2022

Following a whistleblower complaint that alleged Massachusetts-based Public Consulting Group LLC (PCG) overbilled Medicaid, in violation of the False Claims Act, the company has agreed to pay $2.5 million.  According to whistleblower Shane Shackford, PCG caused local school districts to submit false claims to Medicaid while under contract with the State of New Jersey to administer its Special Education Medicaid Initiative (SEMI) program—which provides federal funding to the state and local school districts for providing certain medical services to eligible students.  For his role in the case, Shackford will received a 21% share of the settlement.  USAO NJ

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 23, 2022

A man in Texas, James Clark Nix, has been sentenced to 48 years in federal prison after being found guilty of defrauding investors of at least $6 million in a Ponzi scheme spanning multiple decades.  Using his position as an accountant, Nix had promised investors—many of them his own friends—high interest returns of up to 10%, leading many to entrust him with their life’s savings.  USAO EDTX
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