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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.

April 15, 2019

Munich-based UniCredit Bank AG (UCB AG) and affiliated entities have agreed to pay more than $1.3 billion to resolve criminal charges and related allegations of unlawful conduct by the Department of Justice, Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Federal Reserve, the New York Department of Financial Services, and the New York County District Attorney's Office. As part of the settlement, UniCredit admitted that between 2002 and 2011 it processed financial transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars through U.S. financial institutions on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and other entities subject to sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).  DOJ; Treasury; Fed; DANY

April 9, 2019

London-based Standard Chartered Bank has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to resolve criminal charges and related allegations of unlawful conduct by the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Federal Reserve, the New York Department of Financial Services, the New York County District Attorney's Office, and the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority. As part of the settlement, Standard Chartered admitted that it processed thousands of financial transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars through U.S. financial institutions for the benefit of Iranian and other entities and individuals subject to sanctions. In addition, Standard Chartered admitted that it had deficiencies in its compliance programs and had falsified the records of New York financial institutions.  In addition to the financial penalties, Standard Chartered agreed to the extension of an existing deferred prosecution agreement through 2021, and committed to undertaking specified compliance initiatives.  DOJ; Treasury; Fed; DANY; UK

March 27, 2019

In the second largest resolution of a Medicaid fraud case based in Washington State, CareOne Dental Corporation and its owners will pay $1 million to settle allegations of violating Washington's Medicaid False Claims Act. According to the AG's office, CareOne and defendants Dr. Liem Do and Dr. Phuong-Oanh Tran defrauded Medicaid by using higher paying codes, masking ineligible services as eligible services, and billing for services the practice didn't even provide. Ultimately, the defendants racked up about $1 million over the course of four years. AG WA

March 11, 2019

Medical device manufacturer Covidien LP will pay $20 million to resolve False Claims Act cases initiated by three whistleblowers alleging that Covidien violated the Anti-Kickback Statute by providing remuneration to healthcare providers in California and Florida.  Covidien markets radiofrequency ablation catheters to providers including vein surgery practices for use in procedures for the treatment of varicose veins and underlying conditions, and allegedly provided its customers with substantial assistance in connection with marketing vein screening and related services in order to increase demand for such services and therefore induce purchases of Covidien's vein ablation products.  Covidien will pay $17.5 million to the United States; $1.5 million to California; and $1 million to Florida.  Two whistleblowers who were sales managers for Covidien, Erin Hayes and Richard Ponder, will share a $3.1 million whistleblower reward.  The settlement also resolves claims by whistleblower Shawnea Howerton, a former employee of one of Covidien's customers.  DOJ; USAO NDCal; FL

March 11, 2019

Pfizer will pay $975,000 to the State of Oregon to resolve allegations that the pharmaceutical company distributed misleading advertising materials and coupons to state residents.  The materials advertised Pfizer's drugs the Flector Patch, Estring, Quillivant, and Quillichew, claiming that consumers would "pay no more than" specified amounts -- $15, $20, or $25.  In fact, consumers ended up paying more than advertised for the Pfizer drugs, despite the availability of cheaper generic alternatives.  A large portion of the settlement, $620,000, will go to Oregon nonprofits that provide medical care to low-income uninsured and underinsured, including migrant and seasonal farmworkers.  In addition, consumers who used the coupons will receive refunds.  OR AG

March 7, 2019

In the largest forfeiture ever obtained in a sweepstakes scam, the FTC and State of Missouri have settled with three men and corporations under their control for a record $30 million, with a suspended monetary judgment of $114 million. Kevin Brandes, William Graham, Charles Floyd Anderson were charged with sending millions of deceptive mailers primarily to elderly recipients. The mailers falsely informed recipients that they were eligible to win as much as $2 million, but failed to disclose the total fees recipients would have to pay to play. In addition to relinquishing $30 million, the three men have also been permanently banned from the business, and a court appointed receiver has been tasked with dissolving the companies. FTC

February 28, 2019

A former employee within the Wayne County Adult Services division of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has been charged with defrauding the state's Medicaid program. As an Independent Living Services Specialist, Eliza Yulonda Ijames was responsible for approving Medicaid beneficiaries for home health services. In violation of anti-kickback rules, however, she used her position to refer clients to agencies with which she had an improper financial relationship. AG MI

February 22, 2019

The owner of New York Pharmacy, Inc., NYC Pharmacy Inc., and NY Healthfirst Pharmacy Inc., pharmacist Hin T. Wong, has pleaded guilty to criminal charges arising from millions of dollars in false billing to New York's Medicaid program for HIV drugs.  Wong billed Medicaid for medications that she never dispensed, a scheme disclosed by an investigation confirming that Wong's pharmacies did not purchase a sufficient inventory of medication from licensed drug wholesalers to account for the quantity of medication for which Wong’s pharmacies billed Medicaid and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations.  In addition, Wong paid kickbacks to individuals to bill for medications that were not, in fact, dispensed.  Under a related civil settlement, Wong will surrender over $3.6 million to the stateNY

February 19, 2019

Xerox Corporation will pay $236 million to the State of Texas to resolve claims that the company and its subsidiary Conduent, which provided services to the Texas Medicaid program, improperly approved requests for orthodontic procedures without ensuring that the procedures met Medicaid program requirements.  As a result, the state paid for orthodontic work that was unnecessary or did not meet program requirements.  Texas

February 6, 2019

Abbott Labs has agreed to pay a total of $25 million to settle allegations of paying kickbacks to healthcare professionals in exchange for promotion of its drug, and inappropriately marketing its drug, TriCor, for cardiovascular events not approved by the FDA. The case was initiated by the State of North Carolina and joined by California, Illinois, Nevada, Maryland, Michigan, and Texas, as well as the federal government. NC AG
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