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Whistleblower Successes

Whistleblower reward laws and whistleblower reward programs enable qualifying whistleblowers to recover anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of the government’s recovery. These whistleblower reward laws include: the federal False Claims Act; State False Claims Acts; the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program; the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program; and, the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program. We have collected summaries of recent successes in cases brought by whistleblowers, and you can read them below.

Members of the Constantine Cannon Whistleblower Lawyer Team have served as lead counsel on cases that have recovered roughly $1.3 billion for the government and $240 million in whistleblower awards. You can read more about the results we have achieved for our clients in Our Successes.

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.

February 11, 2019

North Greenville University (NGU) in South Carolina has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle claims that it violated Title IV of the Higher Education Act, as well as the False Claims Act, by improperly compensating student recruiters with bonuses while receiving federal student aid. The alleged fraud was exposed by Maurice Shoe, co-owner of a recruiting company partially owned by NGU; Shoe will now receive $375,000 of the government’s recovery. DOJ

February 5, 2019

Two doctors from the Florida-based Fishman & Sheridan Eye Care Specialists clinic have agreed to pay a combined $157,312.32 to settle their liability under the False Claims Act. Drs. Craig D. Fishman and Jeffrey A. Sheridan were outed in a qui tam complaint filed by former business partner Dr. Michael Pennachio and office manager Sharon Drake, which alleged that from 2011 to 2017, Fishman and Sheridan knowingly billed Medicare for blepharoplasty and ptosis repair surgeries that were purportedly performed on the same patients, even though they are mutually exclusive eyelid repair surgeries. For exposing the fraud, Pennachio and Drake will receive a relator's share of $26,000. USAO MDFL

January 30, 2019

Inform Diagnostics, formerly known as Miraca Life Sciences Inc., will pay $63.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law.  The pathology laboratory company provided referring physicians with subsidies for electronic health records systems, as well as free or discounted technology consulting services, which were alleged to constitute improper financial relationships not subject to any safe harbor.  Three separate whistleblowers had filed qui tam lawsuits against the laboratory; they will receive a share of the settlement that is yet to be determined.  DOJ; USAO MDTN

January 28, 2019

A producer of fish oil and fishmeal products, Omega Protein Corp., has agreed to pay $1 million to resolve allegations that when the company applied for a $10 million federal loan, it falsely certified that it was complying with federal environmental laws when, in fact, it was knowingly violating the Clean Water Act by discharging oil into U.S. waters. In 2013, the company pleaded guilty to criminal violations of the CWA.   The civil settlement arises from a False Claim Act case filed by a former employee of Omega, Keland O. Harrison, who will receive $200,000 of the settlement proceeds.  DOJ

January 28, 2019

A skilled nursing facility based in Orlando, Florida, Conway Lakes NC, LLC, and related entities and physicians, have agreed to pay $1.5 million to resolve allegations that they engaged in a unlawful kickback and referral scheme for Medicare and TRICARE beneficiaries.  Conway Lakes was alleged to have contracted with orthopedic surgeon Kenneth Krumins under a sham “medical director” arrangement in violation of the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute to induce him to refer patients for rehabilitation services.  A former employee of Conway Lakes, Jonathan Montes de Oca, reported the arrangement by filing a qui tam case under the False Claims Act and will receive $267,000 of the proceeds.  USAO MDFL

January 22, 2019

Walgreens Co. will pay the U.S. and the State of Wisconsin $3.5 million to settle a case under the False Claims Act alleging that the retail pharmacy routinely dispensed stimulant medications to Wisconsin Medicaid beneficiaries without first verifying that the prescribing physician ordered the medication for medically appropriate treatment, such as treatment for attention deficit disorder. The case was initiated by unidentified whistleblowers, who will receive a share of the settlement to be determined. USAO EDWI

January 22, 2019

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. will pay $60 million to settle a False Claims Act case brought by a whistleblower alleging that the retail pharmacy chain knowingly overcharged Medicaid when it charged the healthcare program more than "usual and customary price" for medications that participants in Walgreens "Prescriptions Savings Club" received at a lower price.  Of the settlement, approximately $32 million will be paid to the U.S. and $28 million to the affected states.  Whistleblower Marc D. Baker will receive a share of the total settlement, to be determined at a later date.  USAO SDNY

January 22, 2019

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. will pay $209.2 million to settle a False Claims Act case brought by two whistleblowers alleging that the retail pharmacy chain knowingly dispensed insulin pens to patients who did not need them, and billed Medicare, Medicaid, and other government insurance programs for those unnecessary items.  As part of the settlement, Walgreens admitted that it prevented pharmacists from dispensing fewer than five insulin pens at a time and altered records regarding dispensing information and days-of-supply so that patients received more insulin pens than they actually needed.  $168 million of the settlement will be paid to the U.S., and approximately $41.2 million to state governments. The whistleblowers, Adam Rahimi and S. Christopher Schulte, will receive a share of the total settlement, to be determined at a later date.  USAO SDNY.  See also, NY, OH

December 21, 2018

Sprint Communications will pay $330 million to the State of New York to resolve claims that for nearly a decade Sprint knowingly failed to collect and remit more than $100 million in state and local sales taxes owed on flat-rate wireless calling plans sold by Spriint to New York customers.  The investigation was initiated by a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the New York False Claims Act, which allows whistleblowers to bring claims based on a failure to pay taxes.  The unnamed whistleblower will receive $62.7 million of the settlement.  NY AG

December 19, 2018

A vascular surgeon and his practice group, Dr. Irfan Siddiqui and the Heart and Vascular Institute of Florida (HAVI), have agreed to pay $2.23 million to settle a False Claims Act brought by a whistleblower, Lois Hawks, who had been a patient of the doctor.  Defendants were alleged to have submitted false claims for vein ablation services that were not medically necessary, were performed by unqualified personnel, or were based on medical records containing false diagnoses and symptoms.  In addition, defendants were alleged to have upcoded evaluation and management service claims.  Ms. Haws will receive a relator's share of $446,000USAO MDFL
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