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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.

April 20, 2022

Waste management company Stericycle Inc. agreed to pay a total of $84 million and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement admitting to the payment of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina in order to obtain and retain business and to secure improper advantages in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  The company’s foreign subsidiaries maintained false records to conceal the bribes, which were typically paid in cash and recorded on spreadsheets using code words and euphemisms, including describing the payments made in Argentina as “alfajores.”  Stericycle’s total payment consists of a $28 million payment to resolve an investigation by the SEC, a $52.5 million criminal penalty, and $9.3 million to resolve investigations by the Controladoria-Geral da União (CGU) and the Advocacia-Geral de União (Attorney General’s Office) in Brazil, part of which will be credited to reduce the criminal penalty.  DOJ; SEC

April 19, 2022

John Rick Winer, 68, will spend 262 months in federal prison and pay $11 million in restitution for conspiring to defraud investors via a scheme spanning several US states. Winer, with his co-conspirators, solicited millions from donors for nonexistent charitable or humanitarian projects, and then laundered the proceeds. The conspirators utilized numerous fake entities, including one “House of Winer” to further the fraud. Winer is required to forfeit a residence in Norway, a luxury vehicle, approximately $4 million in silver coins, and a laptop. Upon completion of his prison term, Winer will spend 3 years under supervised release. USAO SD

April 13, 2022

Pharmacy owner Aleah Mohammed was sentenced to 78 months in prison for stealing more than $6.5 million from the government via her prescription fraud on Medicare and Medicaid drug plans. Mohammad submitted claims for drugs that weren’t dispensed, weren’t prescribed as claimed, were not medically necessary, or that were dispensed while the pharmacy was no longer registered with the State of New York. The proceeds were used by Mohammed and her family members to buy luxury vehicles, jewelry, and properties in Queens and Pocono Pines, Pennsylvania. USAO EDNY

April 13, 2022

A number of anesthesia entities owned and operated by Care Plus Management, LLC (Care Plus), which itself is owned and operated by doctors Paul D. Weir and John R. Morgan, have agreed to pay $7.2 million to resolve allegations of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act.  A qui tam suit by whistleblower Robert Douglas had alleged that between 2012 and 2016, Care Plus entered into illegal revenue-sharing arrangements with physicians in exchange for patient referrals.  For his contributions to a successful enforcement action, Douglas will receive a $1.3 million share of the settlement.  USAO NDGA

April 12, 2022

Robert A. Karmann, a CPA and former CFO of DC Solar, was sentenced to 6 years in prison and ordered to pay $624 million for his role in perpetrating a Ponzi-style scheme, by taking new investor money to pay older investors, and deploying circular transactions to cover up their illicit behavior. DC Solar manufactured trailer-mounted solar generators and marketed them as having extensive third-party lease demand. Karmann and his co-conspirators offered falsified financial statements and operation reports and provided fabricated revenue summaries to victims of the scheme. Karmann oversaw the hidden transfers of funds, gave false information to investor representatives, and instructed a subordinate to “make it up” when asked by a customer for reports on the location of their solar generators. USAO EDCA

April 12, 2022

Providence Health & Services Washington has agreed to pay $22.7 million to settle allegations of submitting false claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE.  According to an unnamed whistleblower, who will receive a $4.2 million relator’s share, the hospital allegedly gave their neurosurgeons volume-based financial incentives to perform complex surgeries, thereby incentivizing two neurosurgeons to perform an excessive number of complex surgeries on inappropriate candidates without regard to medical necessity or patient safety, and ultimately causing an excessive level of complications.  USAO EDWA

April 12, 2022

Aaron Aqueron of Florida has been sentenced to 4 years in prison and ordered to pay $5.9 million in restitution to the IRS for promoting a nationwide scheme that caused more than $7.6 million in fraudulent tax refund claims to be filed.  The scheme involved convincing more than 200 participants in at least 19 states that they were entitled to tax refunds due to debt, then using the participants’ financial information to prepare tax returns with false information.  Two other co-conspirators, Iran Backstrom and Mehef Bey, were sentenced to more than 8 years and 11 years in prison respectively.  USAO MDFL

April 12, 2022

Physician Partners of America LLC (PPOA), its founder Rodolfo Gari, and its former chief medical officer Dr. Abraham Rivera, have agreed to pay $24.5 million to settle allegations of violating the Stark Law, False Claims Act, and Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA).  The settlement resolved claims by whistleblowers Donald Haight, Dawn Baker, Dr. Harold Cho, Dr. Venus Dookwah-Roberts, and Dr. Michael Lupi, all currently or formerly employed with PPOA.  According to the whistleblowers and the government, PPOA allegedly billed Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary testing, paid illegal kickbacks to its physician employees, and made false statements on a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program.  USAO MDFL

April 11, 2022

The former managing partner and chief investment officer of Manhattan-based International Investment Group (IIG) has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of defrauding IIG clients and investors of over $120 million.  David Hu had pled guilty in January 2021 to overvaluing distressed loans, creating fake loans to hide losses, selling overvalued and fake loans to a collateralized loan obligation trust, and using proceeds to pay earlier investors.  In addition to the prison sentence, he was also ordered to serve 3 years of supervised release, with a restitution order to be imposed at a later date.  USAO SDNY

April 11, 2022

Six California-based companies that conspired with a Chinese billionaire to defraud U.S. Customs and Border Protection and investors worldwide have been ordered to pay $1.83 billion in restitution.  A federal jury found that Perfectus Aluminum Inc., Perfectus Aluminum Acquisitions LLC, Scuderia Development LLC, 1001 Doubleday LLC, Von Karman – Main Street LLC, and 10681 Production Avenue LLC skirted the U.S.’s anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) on certain types of extruded aluminum imported from China by disguising them as functional pallets.  USAO CDCA
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