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Whistleblower Case

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Catch of the Week — DOJ Settles False Claims Act Case Against Cybersecurity Company

Posted  04/18/19
Hand Above Passcode Locked Phone
Last week, the Department of Justice announced that Fortinet, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based cybersecurity company, has agreed to pay more than half a million dollars to resolve allegations that it lied about its compliance with the federal Trade Agreements Act (TAA). The allegations were brought to the government’s attention through a False Claims Act lawsuit filed by a whistleblower who worked in Fortinet’s...

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

Two JP Morgan Whistleblowers Awarded Third-Largest Single SEC Award

Posted  03/29/19
JP Morgan Building with Building Lights On
Earlier this week, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission announced that two whistleblowers were awarded a combined $50 million for reporting securities fraud at JP Morgan. The anonymous whistleblowers, one of whom was described by his attorney as a “JP Morgan executive,” triggered the agency’s investigation and enforcement against the bank for failing to disclose to clients that the bank preferred to invest...

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

Duke Pays Big to Settle Whistleblower Charges of Scientific Research Fraud

Posted  03/28/19
Duke University Campus Plaque
On Monday, Duke University agreed to pay $112.5 million to settle charges in violating the False Claims Act by submitting falsified research on federal grants from the National Institutes of Health and Environmental Protection Agency. It is one of the largest settlements by a university for research fraud, and one the government hopes will send a strong message to the academic community. See DOJ Press...

Baltimore-Area Hospital Chain Pays $35M to Settle Kickback Claims

Posted  03/28/19
Man Holding a Heart
MedStar Health, a health system in Maryland and Washington, DC, and two of its hospitals have settled allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by violating the Anti-Kickback Statute. The settlement is not a determination of liability. It settles specific allegations that MedStar paid kickbacks to MidAtlantic Cardiovascular Associates, a cardiology group based in Maryland, in exchange for...

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 20, 2019

South Korean companies Hyundai Oilbank Co. Ltd. and S-Oil Corporation will plead guilty and pay $127 million in fines to resolve criminal and civil claims arising from the defendants’ alleged bid-rigging and price-fixing in contracts to supply fuel to U.S. military bases in South Korea.  The settlement, the second announced by DOJ in an ongoing investigation, resolves criminal conspiracy and antitrust claims, as well as civil antitrust and False Claims Act violations related to the bid-rigging conspiracy. 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
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