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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.

March 29, 2019

CareWell Urgent Care of Rhode Island, P.C., and Urgent Care Centers of New England Inc. have agreed to pay $2 million to settle a qui tam suit brought on by a former employee, Aileen Cartier. In violation of the False Claims Act, CareWell had falsely inflated the level of services provided and failed to identify service providers in claims submitted to Medicare, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Medicaid, and the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission (GIC) between 2013 to 2018. For bringing on the suit, Cartier will receive a 17% relator's share. USAO MA

March 29, 2019

Acacia Mental Health Clinic and its owner, Abraham Freud, have agreed to pay $4.1 million to the United States and the State of Wisconsin for submitting false claims to Medicaid in violation of the False Claims Act. According to a qui tam complaint filed by whistleblower Rose Presser, Acacia billed for urine drug screens in simple "cup" tests as if a more sophisticated test had been performed. Acacia also billed for medically unnecessary and duplicative urine drug tests and telemedicine services performed by foreign-based psychiatrists in violation of Medicaid regulations. USAO EDWI

March 25, 2019

Duke University agreed to pay $112.5 million to resolve a whistleblower case under the False Claims Act alleging that between 2006 and 2018, the university submitted claims for millions of dollars in funding under 30 different grants from the National Institutes of Health and Environmental Protection Agency that contained falsified or fabricated data or statements.  According to the U.S., in seeking funding from government entities, Duke misrepresented research conducted on mice in its Airway Physiology Laboratory, as well as the results of that research.  The whistleblower, Joseph Thomas, a former Duke employee, will receive $33.75 million from the settlement.  DOJ

March 21, 2019

Nonprofit healthcare organization MedStar Health Inc. has agreed to pay $35 million to the United States to settle two qui tam lawsuits alleging violations of the False Claims Act at two of its hospitals in Baltimore. According to the first complaint, filed by three cardiac surgeons, MedStar paid illegal remuneration to MidAtlantic Cardiovascular Associates (MACVA) to induce referrals of Medicare patients. The second complaint, filed by former patients, alleged that while employed by MedStar, former MACVA employee Dr. John Wang engaged in a pattern of performing and billing for medically unnecessary cardiac stent procedures. DOJ

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 4, 2019

The CFTC announced an award of $2 million to an individual whistleblower under its Whistleblower Program. The CFTC revealed that the individual was not an insider, had provided expert analysis of market data, and received an award at least in part based on related actions brought by non-CFTC federal regulators.  As is their usual practice, the CFTC did not release further details about the case. CFTC

February 25, 2019

Skyline Urology will pay $1.85 million to resolve allegations under the federal False Claims Act that it improperly billed Medicare for evaluation and management (E&M) services that did not meet the criteria for separate billing.  Skyline allegedly used "Modifier 25" to unbundle its E&M billing even when the E&M services were provided on the same day as other billed medical services and were not significant, separately identifiable, and beyond those ordinarily involved with the associated procedure.  A whistleblower, James M. Cesare, filed a qui tam complaint, and will receive a relator's share of approximately $323,750DOJ

February 14, 2019

Compounding pharmacy Vital Life Institute LLC, formerly known as AgeVital Pharmacy LLC, will pay $775,000 to resolve claims that the company and its principals paid kickbacks to third-party marketing companies to solicit prospective patients, regardless of the patients' needs.  The investigation was initiated by the filing of a qui tam complaint under the False Claims Act by Manfred Knopf, who received unwanted compounded medications from AgeVital that were billed to Medicare.  Mr. Knopf will receive $139,500 as a whistleblower reward.  DOJ

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
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