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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 10, 2019

Traverse Anesthesia Associates, P.C. (TAA) and six of its anesthesiologists have agreed to pay $607,966 to resolve a partially-intervened qui tam lawsuit jointly filed by two former employees.  In violation of the False Claims Act, TAA allegedly failed to meet regulatory requirements and conditions of payment in submissions to Medicare.  The unnamed whistleblowers will share a $120,000 award.  USAO WDMI

October 9, 2019

Genetic testing company UTC Laboratories, Inc. (RenRX), along with three principals, have agreed to pay a combined $42.6 million to settle six suits alleging violations of the Anti-Kickback Statue and False Claims Act.  Between 2013 and 2017, RenRX and principals Tarun Jolly, M.D., Patrick Ridgeway, and Barry Griffith allegedly paid cash bribes to physician entities and individuals to induce orders of medically unnecessary pharmacogenetic tests that were subsequently billed to Medicare.  As part of the settlement, RenRX also agreed to a twenty-five year period of exclusion from participating in any federal healthcare program.  USAO EDLA

October 9, 2019

The largest operator of kidney dialysis clinics in the United States has agreed to pay $5.2 million to resolve a lawsuit alleging it submitted false claims to Medicare for excessive and unnecessary immune tests.  From 2013 to 2010, Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. allegedly billed Medicare for Hepatitis B surface antigen tests it performed on patients already known to be immune, at a frequency well above that established by Medicare.  For exposing the alleged False Claims Act violations, former employee Christopher Drennen will receive a 27.5% share of the recovery.  USAO MA

October 7, 2019

Following self-disclosure in 2017 and a subsequent government investigation, Drexel University has agreed to pay $189,062 to resolve its potential liability under the False Claims Act in connection with misused grants funds from the Department of Energy, the Department of the Navy, and the National Science Foundation.  Over the course of ten years, the head of the university’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Chikaodinaka D. Nwankpa, improperly spent funds from eight federal grants on personal expenses, including gentlemen clubs and sports bars.  Dr. Nwankpa eventually agreed to repay $53,328 to Drexel and resign from his position, while Drexel has since implemented policies to prevent similar misconduct.  USAO EDPA

October 4, 2019

Zaldy Sabino, formerly a contracting officer with the U.S. State Department, has been convicted of charges related to contracting fraud.  Sabino received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from the owner of a construction firm in Turkey that had multiple multi-million dollar contracts with the State Department.  Sentencing is set for February, 2020.  DOJ

October 4, 2019

Florida man Brock Lovelace has been sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison following his conviction at trial on charges related to his payment of kickbacks to medical clinics in the Miami area in exchange for the clinics providing him with DNA samples for submission to a DNA testing laboratory between 2013 and 2014.  Lovelace requested that the medical clinics collect the DNA of all the patients who visited the clinics; in turn, the clinics provided food and other inducements to beneficiaries to get them to visit.  Lovelace then submitted the DNA swabs to a testing lab, which billed Medicare.  The patients were not provided with the results of the DNA testing, and typically did not have any medical need for the DNA testing.  Lovelace was previously sentenced to 14 years in prison on other healthcare fraud charges; he will serve the present sentence consecutively.  DOJ

October 4, 2019

Southern California-based Retina Institute of California Medical Group (RIC), its former CEO, and several of its physicians have agreed to pay the State of California and United States $6.65 million to settle alleged violations of state and federal False Claims Acts.  According to former administrators Bobbette Smith and Susan Rogers, between 2006 and 2017, the ophthalmology group improperly billed Medicare and Medicaid for unnecessary and unperformed eye exams, upcoded simple exams using codes normally reserved for emergency conditions, and waived mandatory co-payments and deductibles to induce patient referrals.  Smith and Rogers will receive a relator’s share, which remains to be determined.  USAO CDCA

October 3, 2019

Glenn A. Kline and Community Surgical Associates of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, will pay $4.25 million to resolve claims that Dr. Kline entered into an unlawful kickback arrangement with two hospitals owned by Health Management Associates in exchange for his referral of patients to the hospitals.  The hospitals paid Dr. Kline far above fair market value for his services, and made additional payments to Community Surgical Associates, structuring those payments to conceal their purpose.  HMA previously paid $260 million to resolve related claims; physician groups, EmCare Inc. and Physician’s Alliance Ltd, agreed to pay more than $33 million; and, former HMA CEO Gary Newsome agreed to pay $3.5 million.  The claims against Kline and Community Surgical were original made in a qui tam complaint filed by former HMA executives George Miller and Michael Metts; they will receive $1.05 million of the settlement.  USAO ED PA

September 30, 2019

Charles Jansky and his companies Somont Oil Company and Ferdig Oil Company will pay $137,500 to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act arising from the underpayment of royalties allegedly owing for the pumping of natural gas from federal leases in Montana held by Somont.  In reporting gas produced, Somont failed to disclose the relationship between Somont, Ferdig, and Jansky.  USAO MT
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