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Criminal Proceedings

This archive displays posts tagged as involving criminal law proceedings relevant to whistleblowers. You may also be interested in our pages:

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November 14, 2019

Following a guilty plea in 2018, Sandra Haar was sentenced to five years in prison and has agreed to sell 13 properties, including former clinic properties, to resolve civil claims under the False Claims Act that she and the non-profit provider of health and dental services she ran, Horisons Unlimited, submitted fraudulent claims to Medi-Cal, including claims for services rendered by unlicensed providers, claims for services that were not rendered at all, and claims for unnecessary services. Haar was also alleged to have received thousands in kickbacks from a laboratory in exchange for sending Horisons patients to the lab. Haar will be excluded from Medicare participation for 20 years; the former Horisons CFO, Norman Haar, will be excluded for 15 years.  USAO ED Cal

November 7, 2019

Tower Research Capital, LLC, a proprietary trading firm, has been ordered to pay a record $67.4 million for engaging in a manipulative and deceptive spoofing scheme from 2012 to 2013.  The Commission found that when Tower traders had genuine orders on one side of the market, they would also place orders on the other side that they intended to cancel before execution, intending to create a false impression of supply and demand to induce other market participants to trade against their genuine orders. The judgment for over $32.6 million in restitution, $10.5 million in disgorgement, and $24.4 million in civil monetary penalty is reportedly the largest ever ordered in a spoofing case. Tower also entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in a settlement with DOJ, crediting their monetary settlement with the CFTC and imposing compliance obligations. CFTC; DOJ

October 28, 2019

Atheir Amarrah, the owner of Michigan-based Prompt Care Home Health Services Inc, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution after pleading guilty to paying recruiters for referrals to Medicare beneficiaries.  In his guilty plea, Amarrah also admitted to billing Medicare for claims tainted by illegal kickbacks.  DOJ

October 23, 2019

Gary Frank was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison following a guilty plea on charges related to his fraudulent business scheme.  Frank claimed to run a multi-million dollar company, Legal Coverage, Ltd., through which employers could offer legal services as part of their employee benefits package.  Based on these misrepresentations -- in fact, the company had very little revenue -- Frank obtained over $30 million in loans from financial institutions, which he used to fund his own extravagant lifestyle.  Frank was also ordered to pay restitution of $33.7 million.  USAO EDPA

October 4, 2019

Zaldy Sabino, formerly a contracting officer with the U.S. State Department, has been convicted of charges related to contracting fraud.  Sabino received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from the owner of a construction firm in Turkey that had multiple multi-million dollar contracts with the State Department.  Sentencing is set for February, 2020.  DOJ

October 4, 2019

Florida man Brock Lovelace has been sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison following his conviction at trial on charges related to his payment of kickbacks to medical clinics in the Miami area in exchange for the clinics providing him with DNA samples for submission to a DNA testing laboratory between 2013 and 2014.  Lovelace requested that the medical clinics collect the DNA of all the patients who visited the clinics; in turn, the clinics provided food and other inducements to beneficiaries to get them to visit.  Lovelace then submitted the DNA swabs to a testing lab, which billed Medicare.  The patients were not provided with the results of the DNA testing, and typically did not have any medical need for the DNA testing.  Lovelace was previously sentenced to 14 years in prison on other healthcare fraud charges; he will serve the present sentence consecutively.  DOJ

September 27, 2019

In an investigation dubbed Operation Double Helix, charges have been brought against 35 defendants associated with a number of telemedicine and cancer genetic testing laboratories involved in a scheme that resulted in the submission of more than $2.1 billion in fraudulent Medicare claims.  Cancer genetic testing laboratories involved in the scheme are alleged to have paid illegal kickbacks to providers and others working with fraudulent telemedicine companies in exchange for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries for expensive and medically unnecessary cancer genetic tests, which Medicare was then billed for. Some of the defendants allegedly controlled a telemarketing network that lured hundreds of thousands of elderly and/or disabled patients into signing up for unnecessary genetic tests, often without any interaction with the provider who would prescribe the testing.  DOJ; USAO ED LA

September 26, 2019

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Avanir Pharmaceuticals will pay approximately $116 million to resolve civil and criminal charges related to its marketing of Nuedextra for off-label purposes and payment of kickbacks to prescribers and others.  The government alleged that Avanir marketed Nuedextra to long-term care facilities, suggesting that it could be used as an alternative to anti-psychotics for dementia patients, even though Nuedextra had only been approved by the FDA for treatment of particular symptoms secondary to a neurologic disease or brain injury.  In addition, Avanir provided certain physicians and other healthcare professionals with unlawful remuneration in the form of money, honoraria, travel, and food to induce them to write prescriptions for Nuedexta. The civil settlement for $103 million, which includes a five-year corporate integrity agreement, resolves whistleblower actions brought under federal and state False Claims Acts by former Avanir employees Kevin Manieri, Duane Arnold, and Mark Shipman.  Manieri will receive $12.4 million, and Arnold and Shipman will receive $5.4 million. In addition to the civil settlement, Avanir will pay a criminal penalty of $7.8 million, forfeit $5.1 million, and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement admitting to payment of kickbacks and requiring cooperation in ongoing in ongoing criminal investigations of individuals involved in marketing and prescribing Nuedextra.  Indictments against four individuals, including former Avanir employees and one of the top prescribers of Nuedexta in the country, were announced, charging the individuals with conspiracy to solicit, receive, offer and pay health care kickbacks.  DOJ

September 20, 2019

Pradyumna Kumar Samal, the former CEO of two Bellevue, Washington IT firms, has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for his role in a long-running H1-B visa fraud scheme.  Samal's companies, Divensi and Azimetry, were employment agencies in the business of providing IT workers to major corporate clients.  Samal would submit fraudulent applications on behalf of foreign workers, claiming that they were being brought to the U.S. to perform a specific job, and instructing them to lie in their own applications, when, in fact, after being admitted, the employees would be benched and unpaid until Samal's companies were able to place them at actual client jobs.  In addition, Samal's companies failed to pay employment taxes on behalf of the foreign workers, instead diverting those funds to his personal use.  USAO WD WA

September 19, 2019

Following his conviction at trial in September 2018, Azam Doost, the owner of a marble mining company in Afghanistan, has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison, and ordered to pay $8.9 million in forfeiture and restitution to the government.  Doost had been convicted for his role in fraudulently obtaining and failing to repay a $15.8 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a U.S. government agency, to Equity Capital Mining LLC, which Doost owned at the time.  DOJ
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