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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.

February 3, 2020

Apparel manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide, Inc., has reached a $69.5 million settlement with Michigan and local entities in the state to resolve claims that company operations polluted residential drinking wells with PFAS.  Wolverine has agreed to pay to extend municipal water to more than 1,000 properties, conduct groundwater investigations to monitor contamination, and undertake other monitoring and response activities.  MI

January 30, 2020

Kohler Co. agreed to pay a $20 million civil penalty and retire unlawfully generated emissions credits to resolve claims that it manufactured and sold "small SI" engines used in mowers, landscaping equipment, and generators, that incorporated emissions "defeat devices" designed to cheat emissions testing standards.  Kohler admitted that it falsely certified its test procedures, failed to make required adjustments to testing, failed to properly disclose the functioning of its emission control devices, and failed to comply with testing requirements.  EPA/DOJ/CA

January 30, 2020

Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $344 million to the State of California for misrepresenting the safety of its pelvic mesh implants, which were sold from 2008 to 2014 and have resulted in over 35,000 personal injury lawsuits nationwide.  The State of California brought suit in 2016 after finding the company failed to inform patients and their doctors of possible severe complications, including chronic pain and permanent dysfunctional elimination.  Johnson and Johnson previously settled similar allegations with some 40 other states, for $117 million, in October of last year.  CA AG

December 31, 2019

On the heels of a similar settlement in the State of Washington, CenturyLink has entered into a $4 million settlement with the State of Oregon and agreed to refund $672,000 to 8,212 Oregonians who were overcharged for telecommunication services.  Over a thousand customers had complained—and a subsequent investigation by the state DOJ found—that CenturyLink had a practice of failing to disclose all fees upfront, sending multiple bills each month for different amounts, and billing for modems prior to installation as well as for services after they were cancelled.  OR AG

December 17, 2019

India-based outsourcing and business consulting firm Infosys Ltd. has agreed to pay $800,000 to the State of California to resolve allegations that the company misclassified approximately 500 Infosys employees as working in California on B-1 visas rather than H-1B visas.  By using the B-1 visas, Infosys avoided California payroll taxes and avoided the H-1B obligation to pay workers at the local prevailing wage.  The case was initiated by a whistleblower complaint under the California False Claims Act filed by Jack "Jay" B. Palmer, who will receive 15% of the settlement.  CA

December 13, 2019

In the Attorney General’s first-ever trial under the Connecticut False Claims Act, Dr. Aram Agadjanian, a dentist in Connecticut, has been ordered to pay the State of Connecticut more than $1.7 million for defrauding the state's Medicaid program from 2014 to 2015.  Dr. Agadjanian, also known as Aram Yuri Agadzanov, submitted claims to Medicaid for dental work that was never provided to Medicaid patients, even going so far as to create fake records to back up the claims. CT AG

December 12, 2019

A ring of companies led by Orbital Publishing Group, Inc. has been ordered to pay $16 million for defrauding more than 68,000 New Yorkers on subscriptions to leading magazine and newspaper publications.  According to the Attorney General of New York, Orbital and its affiliates sent unauthorized solicitations claiming to offer the lowest rates on subscriptions—despite cease and desist letters from the publishers—when in fact they charged more than double what publishers would have charged customers directly.  Additionally, they failed to clearly indicate subscription expiration dates, causing customers to not only pay more but also renew subscriptions that had not yet expired.  The same ring of companies had been the target of a 2016 FTC enforcement action that led the State of Oregon to impose a $8.9 million judgment.  NY AG

December 10, 2019

Internet service provider CenturyLink has entered into a $6.1 million settlement with the State of Washington, resolving allegations that the company added charges to customer bills without accurately disclosing those fees, and failed to provide discounts promised by sales agents.  While $900,000 of the settlement will be immediately distributed to affected customers, the remainder will be held pending resolution of a nationwide class action against the company.  WA

November 22, 2019

Ave Maria Family Practice PLLC and its principal, Dr. Dorothy Agbafe-Mosley, have agreed to pay $1.25 million to the State of North Carolina to resolve claims that they falsely billed the state's Medicaid program for addiction treatment services allegedly provided to Medicaid beneficiaries.  In fact, the services were not medically necessary, had no supporting clinical documentation, or were otherwise performed in violation of Medicaid policy.  NC

November 15, 2019

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Lupin Limited and related entities, together with company executives Vinita Gupta and Robert Hoffman, will pay $63 million to Texas to resolve claims under the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Action that they reported inflated drug prices to the state's Medicaid program in order to receive excess reimbursements.  The investigation of Lupin was initiated by a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Expess Med Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  TX
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