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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 7, 2022

Dignity Health and the Tenet Healthcare hospitals Twin Cities Community Hospital and Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center will pay a total of $22.5 million to resolve allegations that they submitted false claims to Medi-Cal in connection with the ACA’s Medicaid Adult Expansion program.  The defendants, who contracted with Medi-Cal, agreed to provide healthcare services to this newly-insured population and return surplus funds if they did not spend at least 85% of the specified funds on eligible services.  The government alleged that the hospitals falsely billed for “Enhanced Services,” which allowed them to overstate AE spending, including by billing for services that were duplicative of services already required. The settlements resolve claims brought in a whistleblower action by Julio Bordas, who previously served as a Medical Director for CenCal Health, the County Organized Health System through which Medi-Cal contracted with the hospitals. Bordas will receive $3.9 million as his share of the federal recovery.  DOJ; USAO CD Cal; CA

December 6, 2022

Centene will pay $17 million to the State of Oregon to resolve an investigation that the company, which served as a pharmacy benefit manager for the state’s Medicaid program, failed to provide certain pharmacy discounts in Oregon, resulting in inflated fees paid to Centene.  OR

December 5, 2022

Optical lens manufacturer Essilor Laboratories of America, Inc. will pay $23.8 million to California to resolve allegations that the company violated the state’s Insurance Frauds Prevention Act when it allegedly provided kickbacks and other unlawful incentives to eye care providers in exchange for these providers’ promises to send business to Essilor. The state’s action was initiated by a whistleblower complaint filed by Christie Rudolph, who will receive a whistleblower reward of approximately $11.1 million. (see earlier settlement) CA

November 15, 2022

Walmart has agreed to pay $3.1 billion for its failure to oversee opioid dispensing in its pharmacies, helping to fuel the opioid crisis. Walmart will implement better policies and procedures and submit to increased oversight. Much of the settlement funding is designated for opioid treatment and recovery services, in addition to creating a Controlled Substance Compliance Director to oversee the settlement’s requirements. CA AG; NY AG; OR AG; DE AG; VA AG; KS AG

November 14, 2022

Forty state Attorneys General, in the largest multistate AG privacy settlement in US history, have secured a $391.5 million settlement agreement from Google for misleading customers about its location tracking practices. As part of the settlement, Google is required to show additional information to users whenever they turn an account setting “on” or “off”; to make key location tracking information unavoidable; and to create a “location technologies” webpage, providing users with detailed information about Google’s location data and tracking services. PA AG; OR AG; NJ AG; VA AG; NC AG; FL AG

November 7, 2022

Experian Information Solutions, Inc. and T-Mobile USA, Inc. will pay a combined $15 million for a data breach which compromised more than 15 million individuals’ personal information. The breach exposed personal data of consumers who applied for credit or postpaid services through T-Mobile from September 2013 through September 2015. In addition to the monetary settlement, Experian is required to strengthen its security practices and offer 5 years of credit monitoring services to impacted consumers. VA AG; PA AG; DE AG; NJ AG

November 3, 2022

Teva Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., subsidiary Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, and its affiliates will pay $523 million to New York State for their role in fueling the opioid crisis. Injunctive relief includes a ban on high-dose opioids and prescription savings programs, prohibitions on marketing and funding third parties that promote opioids, restrictions on political lobbying, and monitoring and reporting of off-label use of fentanyl nasal spray products. NYAG

November 2, 2022

CBS and former CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves will pay $30.5 million for working with a LAPD captain to conceal sexual assault allegations against Moonves, misleading investors by concealing information about the allegations, and for insider trading based on that information. CBS executives coordinated with the LAPD captain to prevent the complaint from being leaked to the press. As part of the settlement, CBS will reform its HR practices around sexual harassment, and Moonves is prohibited from serving as an officer or a director of any public company doing business in NY, without written approval by OAG. NYAG

November 1, 2022

Two Florida-based companies and their owners have been ordered to pay more than $24.8 million for violating the state Consumer Protection Act by sending 232,091 deceptive letters to more than 15,000 small business owners in Washington State, resulting in $1.3 million in payments to the fraudsters.  The letters by CA Certificate Service and Labor Poster Compliance appeared to originate from the government and demanded payment for certificates or posters that were implied to be mandatory, but were in fact available free of charge from state and federal agencies.  Although the nationwide fraud scheme resulted in $5.3 million in losses around the country, this is the first judgment against the defendants.  WA AG

October 24, 2022

The nation’s largest chicken producer, Tyson Foods, has agreed to pay $10.5 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged the company, along with 18 other broiler chicken producers, had been conspiring since 2008 to drive up chicken prices.  Their actions allegedly caused consumers to overpay by millions of dollars, and violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act’s antitrust provisions.  Two other broiler chicken producers have settled thus far—Mar-Jac Poultry for $725,000, and Fieldale Farms Corp. for $475,000—bringing the total recovery in this matter to $11.7 million.  AG WA
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