Jeffery Neuberger Interview
Jeffery Neuberger was the whistleblower/relator in a False Claims Act case alleging that a medical group violated the Anti-Kickback Statute. Mr. Neuberger was represented by the team at Constantine Cannon, including Jessica T. Moore, Alysia A. Solow, James J. Kovacs, Margaux Poueymirou, Yo W. Shiina, Hallie Noecker, and Max Voldman.
1. Is there anything about you or your background that made it more likely that you would someday come forward as a whistleblower?
Even as a child, I always stayed away from trouble, I like rules, law and order. When I graduated from college, I applied for the FBI, took their exams and passed them. Then I did not quite make it through the interview process, so I had to wait a period of time to interview again. While I was waiting to interview again, I became employed in the field of Healthcare Administration so I no longer pursued the FBI. Had I not focused my career on business, I may have pursued a career in law enforcement, the military or the practice of law.
2. What prompted you to reach out to law firm(s)?
I knew that I needed the information and expertise of a law firm that knew Medicare Fraud laws and procedures for whistleblowers.
3. What was it like to bring your information to the government?
Bringing this information to the government was somewhat surreal. It is still difficult for me to believe that I would stumble into the situation, I would find a law firm that would understand it and take my case, and that the government would also find interest in the case. It is almost like a dream or a movie. My role in the lawsuit was to simply tell my attorneys what I knew and to help them build the case by answering questions they asked of me. We eventually met with officials from the Department of Justice. I was not afraid because I knew I was doing the right thing and the government would not punish me for that. The process was exciting with little stress. The process does take a good amount of time so it requires some patience.
4. Could you tell us a little about your experience working with your legal team?
Working with my legal team was an excellent experience. I was able to learn a little bit about how the justice system works. Although I did not think it was necessary, Constantine Cannon treated me like a customer at all times. They were always polite and were sensitive to the needs of me and my family.
5. At what point did your identity become known to the public?
My case did not become known to the public until it was almost completely resolved. Apparently the Associated Press became aware of the case by routinely looking through court documents. The news article by the Associated Press showed up on the website of our local newspaper about 20 minutes after my attorney was contacted and it was front page news the next day. My case was also the lead story on the local news that evening. I was never contacted by the media.
6. Please describe the experience of going public.
Surprisingly, very few people have ever asked me about the lawsuit since it became public. I still live in the same town where the company that I reported is located, and this happens to be in the area where I grew up, so I know a lot of people. People have respected my privacy and frankly, I think most people have already forgotten about this.
7. Did you experience any backlash? How did you handle that?
I was no longer involved in the Healthcare industry when I reported., I had become self employed, so there was nothing anybody could do to harm me. One person did tell me that I am famous now and I think they meant this in a good way.
8. How did your experience affect your personal and family life?
My wife was initially apprehensive about me coming forward, but she knew that I had to pursue the issue. She was and is still working in the local healthcare industry, which made her worried, but she need not have been concerned. My family has been very supportive. Again, it was a big deal for about 1 day and now nobody ever thinks about it.
9. Would you do it again? Would you do anything differently?
I would absolutely do this again and I can’t think of anything I would do differently. Frankly, all one can do in this situation is to tell your attorneys what you know and to let them handle it from there. There are few decisions to be made in this process.
10. Do you feel you did the right thing?
From the moment I learned of the conduct I knew I needed to report this. I knew it was the right thing, and I felt vindicated in the end.
11. Based on your experience, is there any advice you can offer to potential whistleblowers who are contemplating their own journey?
My advice is to tell anybody that may know about or may have been involved in a kickback scheme to come forward. You may eventually be punished if you don’t come forward, but you definitely won’t be punished if you do come forward. It can also be financially beneficial while eliminating the stress you are currently feeling about the situation. I do not understand why anybody would ever debate whether they should come forward.