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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.

December 18, 2015

Thirty-two hospitals in 15 states agreed to pay more than $28 million to settle charges they violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims to Medicare for minimally-invasive kyphoplasty procedures used to treat certain spinal fractures often arising from osteoporosis.  According to the government, the settling hospitals billed Medicare for these procedures on a more costly inpatient basis when they should have been billed on a less costly outpatient basis.  The government has now reached settlements with more than 130 hospitals totaling approximately $105 million to resolve allegations of overcharging Medicare for kyphoplasty procedures.  The 15 current settling hospitals include: The Cleveland Clinic (Ohio); Citrus Memorial Health System (Florida); Cullman Regional Medical Center (Alabama); Martin Memorial Medical Center (Florida); MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital (Washington); Norwalk Hospital (Connecticut); Princeton Community Hospital Association (West Virginia); Sacred Heart Medical Center (Washington); Sarasota Memorial Hospital (Florida); Spartanburg Regional Health Services District Inc. (South Carolina); St. Cloud Hospital (Minnesota); Tampa General Hospital (Florida); 5 hospitals affiliated with Community Health Systems Inc. (Tennessee); 5 hospitals affiliated with Tenet Health Care Corporation (Texas); 5 hospitals formerly owned and operated by Health Management Associates (Florida); 3 hospitals affiliated with BayCare Health System (Florida); and 2 hospitals affiliated with Banner Health (Arizona).  In addition, the government previously settled with Medtronic Spine LLC, the corporate successor to Kyphon Inc., for $75 million to settle allegations the company caused false claims to be submitted to Medicare by counseling hospital providers to perform kyphoplasty procedures as inpatient rather than outpatient procedures.  All but 3 of the current settlements originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Craig Patrick, a former Kyphon reimbursement manager, and Charles Bates, a former Kyphon sales manager for Kyphon.  They will receive a whistleblower award of roughly $4.75 million from the proceeds of the government’s recovery.  DOJ

June 24, 2015

Dr. Alon Vanier and nurse Daniel Barbir will receive a very sizeable whistleblower award from the $450 million DaVita Healthcare Partners, Inc. agreed to pay to settle charges it violated the False Claims Act by purposely creating and then billing the government for unnecessary waste in administering the drugs Zemplar and Venofer to dialysis patients.

June 9, 2015

Josh Harman will receive a whistleblower award of nearly $19 million from the $663 million highway guardrail maker Trinity Industries was ordered to pay for violating the False Claims Act by defrauding the Federal Highway Administration by making a critical change to the dimensions of its ET-Plus guardrail in 2005, but failing to tell federal regulators as required by law.  NYT

June 5, 2015

Former DC Public Schools employee Jeffrey Mills will receive a yet-to-be-determined whistleblower award from the $19.4 million paid by Chartwells, a division of Compass Group USA, Inc. and Thompson Hospitality Services LLC to settle charges the company violated the False Claims Act by overcharging DC public schools in connection with its school lunch program contracts.  DC

April 23, 2015

German-based Deutsche Bank AG and its UK-based subsidiary DB Group Services (UK) Limited agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion to settle US and UK allegations relating to their role in manipulating and false reporting of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and Euribor.  In addition to the monetary payout, DB Group Services agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and Deutsche Bank entered into a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve wire fraud and price-fixing charges. The settlement payment consists of an $800 million CFTC penalty, a $600 million penalty payable to the New York Department of Financial Services, $344 million payable to the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) action, and criminal penalties and disgorgement payable in an agreement with DOJ, including a $150 million fine payable by DB Group Services and a $625 million penalty payable by Deutsche Bank.  DOJ; CFTC; NY

April 2, 2015

Medical device maker Medtronic plc and affiliated Medtronic companies,Medtronic Inc., Medtronic USA Inc., and Medtronic Sofamor Danek USA Inc., agreed to pay $4.41 million to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act by making false statements to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense regarding the country of origin of certain Medtronic products sold to the US.  Specifically, the government charged Medtronic with selling to the VA and DoD products it certified would be made in the US or other designated countries when in fact they were manufactured in China and Malaysia, which are prohibited countries under the Trade Agreements Act of 1979.  The allegations were first raised in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by three unidentified whistleblowers under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. They will receive a whistleblower award of $749,700Whistleblower Insider

March 19, 2015

Bank of New York Mellon agreed to pay $714 million to settle charges the bank engaged in fraud and other misconduct when providing foreign exchange (“FX”) services to its customers.  As part of the settlements with the US and New York, BNYM admitted that contrary to representations to clients that it provided “best rates” and “best execution” for FX transactions, the Bank actually gave clients the worst reported interbank rates of the trading day.  The charges originated in a lawsuit brought by a whistleblower under the New York False Claims Act.

March 19, 2015

Dr. Michael Montejo, a radiation oncologist and former employee of Florida Oncology Network P.A, will receive a whistleblower award of $1,082,500 from the $5,412,502 settlement resolving allegations Adventist Health System Sunbelt Healthcare Corporation violated the False Claims Act by providing radiation oncology services to Medicare and TRICARE beneficiaries that were not directly supervised by radiation oncologists or similarly qualified persons.  DOJ

February 6, 2015

Minnesota-based medical device manufacturer Medtronic Inc. agreed to pay $2.8M to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act by causing physicians to submit false claims to federal health care programs for investigational medical procedures known as “SubQ stimulations” that were not reimbursable. According to the government, Medtronic improperly promoted the procedure and the use of its spinal cord stimulation devices for the procedure even though its safety and efficacy had not been established by the FDA. The charges were first raised in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act by former Medtronic sales representative Jason Nickell. He will receive a whistleblower award of $602,000. DOJ

December 8, 2014

Supreme Foodservice pleaded guilty and paid $288 million for overcharging the government on a contract to provide food and water to the U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  In addition, Supreme Group B.V. and several of its subsidiaries agreed to pay an additional $146 million to resolve a related civil lawsuit alleging false billings to the Department of Defense for fuel and transporting cargo to American soldiers in Afghanistan. Michael Epp, former Director, Commercial Division and Supply Chain for Supreme Group, will receive a whistleblower award of $16.2 million.  DOJ

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