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State Enforcement Actions

Each state enforces its laws and defends its interests, and states often work with the federal government in investigating and prosecuting corporate frauds.  Whistleblowers with knowledge of fraud or wrongful conduct that involves state or local funds or programs may be able to bring a claim under a state or local False Claims Act, and may be eligible to receive a monetary reward and protection against retaliation.

Below are summaries of recent settlements, successful prosecutions, and enforcement actions by states. If you believe you have information about fraud which could give rise to a claim under a State or Local False Claims Act or other whistleblower reward provision, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced whistleblower attorneys.

December 21, 2020

Substance abuse treatment provider A.R.E.B.A.-CASRIEL, Inc. d/b/a Addiction Care Interventions Chemical Dependency Treatment Centers (“ACI”) and its owner, Steven Yohay, agreed to pay a total of $6 million to resolve federal and New York state claims that they defrauded Medicaid including through the payment of kickbacks and other fraudulent conduct in connection with the enrollment of Medicaid beneficiaries into ACI’s inpatient treatment program.  Defendants allegedly employed drivers who were compensated in part based on the number of patients they recruited, to target homeless individuals to enroll in ACI’s inpatient treatment program by offering food, cash, and money to purchase drugs, and/or alcohol. In addition, ACI unlawfully paid a patient recruiter, and enrolled Medicaid patients who had not been evaluated by a qualified healthcare professional, including by copying a physician’s signature.  The government’s investigation was initiated by a whistleblower complaint filed by a former employee, who will receive an undisclosed amount of the settlement.  USAO SDNY; NY

December 7, 2020

The largest non-bank mortgage servicer in the country, Nationstar Mortgage, has agreed to pay $79.2 million in restitution to over 55,000 borrowers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia who were harmed by the lender’s noncompliance with numerous laws, including the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and Homeowner’s Protection Action of 1998 (HPA), from 2011 to 2017.  Additionally, Nationstar will pay another $7.1 million in costs and penalties to government parties.  CFPB; DOJ; CA AG; NY AG; PA AG

December 7, 2020

DISH Network LLC has agreed to pay a record-breaking $126 million in civil penalties for violating the FTC’s Telemarking Sales Rule, as well as a combined $84 million to the States of California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  In 2017, a federal district court found DISH liable for more than 66 million unlawful telemarketing calls made directly by the company or by retailers marketing their products and services.  The total settlement amount, $210 million, represents the largest civil penalty ever obtained for do-not-call violations.  DOJ; CA AG; NC AG

December 7, 2020

A chain of supermarkets in the New York area has been ordered to pay $4.7 million to settle claims under the state False Claims Act that alleged the chain operated a series of tax avoidance schemes from 2012 to 2018.  The case against Food World entities Pine Tree Meat & Produce Inc., Food Jungle, Inc., Sonamoo, Inc., and CNI Meat & Produce, and owner Hi Jong Lee was sparked by a qui tam whistleblower and involved three schemes: the use of separate cash registers so cash purchases would not be recorded for tax purposes, the use of fake merchandise returns to underreport actual sales, and the payment of a majority of its employees in cash and off the books.  AG NY

November 2, 2020

Hospital system Memorial Health Services will pay a total of $31.5 million after self-disclosing that it overcharged California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, for outpatient prescription drug reimbursements under the 340B Drug Pricing Program.  Memorial Health billed Medi-Cal for outpatient drugs at its usual and customary rate, rather than the lower “actual acquisition costs,” as required under the 340B Drug Pricing Program. California will receive $18.9 million of the settlement, and the federal government will receive $12.6 million.  Cal; CD Cal

October 30, 2020

Eleven asphalt and paving companies operating in West Virginia, including West Virginia Paving Inc., Kelly Paving Inc., American Asphalt & Aggregate Inc., and eight related companies, entered into a settlement to resolve claims that they conspired to monopolize the asphalt and paving market.  The alleged anti-competitive conduct increased the cost of road paving paid for by the state and local entities within the state.  The settlement, valued at $101.3 million, includes a cash payment of $30.35 million and an additional $71 million in credits that can be applied by the government to work over the next seven years, including work that is already completed but not yet paid for.  WV

October 16, 2020

Massachusetts home health agency Altranais Home Care, LLC and its owners, Constant Ogutt and Shakira Lubega, will pay $3.1 million to resolved claims that they submitted false claims to the state’s Medicaid program, MassHealth.  According to the state, the defendants billed for services for which they did not have a physician-authorized plan of care.  Mass

October 8, 2020

CHS/Community Health Systems Inc. will pay $5 million to resolve the claims of 28 states related to a data breach that affected over six million patients, exposing their names, birthdates, social security numbers, and other information.  CHS also agreed to take undertake specific measures to help keep patients’ information secure.  NC

October 7, 2020

J&K Contracting, Inc. will pay $350,000 to the State of Maryland to settle claims that the company violated the Maryland False Claims Act.  J&K and its principal, Kryiakos Kiotsekoglou, were alleged to have made false statements that they used and paid subcontractors certified under the state’s Minority Business Enterprise Program.  In addition to the fine, defendants have agreed to a voluntary debarment from contracting with the State.  MD
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