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Whistleblower Rewards

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Constantine Cannon Attorneys Explain How the Recent Conviction of Theranos COO Sunny Balwani Underlines the Need to Expand Whistleblower Rewards Programs

Posted  07/29/22
Hands in handcuffs behind back of white man in business suit
As Gordon Schnell and Max Voldman explain in Fortune, the Balwani conviction closed a chapter that began several years ago when whistleblowers at the company reported to the press and authorities what they saw as something very wrong in Elizabeth Holmes’ biotech startup.  They followed a path many whistleblowers have taken, risking their own careers and livelihoods, to stop what they saw as serious fraud and...

July 22, 2022

Medical device manufacturer Biotronik Inc. has agreed to pay nearly $13 million to resolve allegations of paying kickbacks to physicians in order to induce use of their implantable cardiac devices, and causing false claims to be submitted to Medicare and Medicaid.  The alleged violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act were brought to light in a qui tam suit by Jeffrey Bell and Andrew Schmid, both former sales representatives for Biotronik, who as part of the settlement will receive a $2.1 million relator’s share.  USAO CDCA

July 14, 2022

BioReference Health, LLC, formerly known as BioReference Laboratories, Inc. and OPKO Health, Inc., have agreed to pay nearly $10 million and enter into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement to settle a whistleblower-brought case alleging it violated the Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark Law, and False Claims Act.  The alleged misconduct involved making lease payments to healthcare providers that exceeded fair market value, and later failing to report or return any overpayments to federal healthcare programs.  USAO MA

July 13, 2022

Solera Specialty Pharmacy and its CEO, Nicholas Saraniti, has agreed to pay $1.31 million and enter into a three-year integrity agreement to resolve allegations of defrauding Medicare.  Solera allegedly submitted fraudulent claims for Evzio—a high-priced version of naloxone, which reverses opioid overdoses—based on prior authorization requests that contained false clinical information, that were not actually approved by physicians, and that improperly listed Solera’s contact information as if it were the physician’s.  In connection with a criminal information, Solera has also entered into a deferred prosecution agreement.  The whistleblower in this case, a former employee of Evzio manufacturer kaléo Inc. named Rebecca Socol, will receive a $262,000 share of the settlement.  DOJ

July 8, 2022

Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc., which provides propulsion and power systems for vehicles belonging to the Department of Defense and NASA, has agreed to pay $9 million to resolve a whistleblower lawsuit.  According to Brian Markus, a former employee, the company misrepresented its compliance with the cybersecurity requirements of contracts with those agencies, in violation of the False Claims Act.  For bringing a successful qui tam case, Markus will receive a relator’s share of $2.61 millionUSAO EDCA

June 10, 2022

A doctor who allegedly submitted claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal for unperformed procedures, services, and tests, in violation of the California and federal False Claims Acts, has agreed to pay $9.5 million to resolve a civil suit.  The qui tam case by Minas Kochumian’s former medical assistant Elize Oganesyan, and former IT consultant Damon Davies, alleged that claims for treatment of osteopathic issues that were submitted over a six year period were false.  The settlement includes $5.5 million that Kochumian already paid as criminal restitution in a separate case in the Central District.  As part of the civil settlement, Oganesyan and Davies will share a $1.75 million award.  CA AG; USAO EDCA

May 19, 2022

Retailer H&M will pay $36 million to New York State to resolve claims that the company violated a New York law which requires gift card issuers to turn over unused balances on gift cards to the state’s Abandoned Property Fund after five years of inactivity.  The retailer repeatedly lied to the state about its failure to transfer the unused gift card balances as required, and falsely told the state that an out-of-state company was handling its gift cards business. A whistleblower who filed a lawsuit under the New York False Claims Act will receive $7.74 million for bringing H&M’s misconduct to light.  NY

May 19, 2022

Healthcare testing company VirtuOx, Inc. agreed to pay $3.15 million to resolve claims brought in an action initiated by a whistleblower alleging that falsely billed Medicare for pulse oximetry testing.  VirtuOx allegedly reported San Francisco as the location for overnight pulse oximetry testing when, in fact, no services were performed at that location, but that location resulted in a higher Medicare reimbursement.  In addition, VirtuOx allegedly billed Medicare for both oxygen “spot checks” and overnight pulse oximetry testing, when only the overnight testing was performed.  The whistleblower, Amber Watt, will receive an award of $630,000.  USAO SD FL
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