In The News

Jury Awards $115 Million to Whistleblower in False Claims Case Against Florida Nursing Home Facility

Occasionally, whistle-blowers win in cases where the government has not intervened. Such was the case early last month when a federal jury in Florida awarded a nurse, Angela Ruckh, $115 million to settle her False Claims Act suit against her employer (LaVie Management and later CMC II). Ms. Ruckh had alleged that the company had engaged in a fraudulent scheme against the government that was “encouraged by senior officers.” Moreover, Ruckh stated that the scheme actively encouraged employees to falsify claims submitted to the government. The original False Claims Act lawsuit was filed back in 2011. Ruckh began working for Lavie Rehab, a skilled nursing facility, back in February of that same year. After working for a short time, Ruckh discovered what she believed were fraudulent activities being committed by senior officers at the facility.

Ruckh discovered these fraudulent activities through her work which involved helping to train minimum data set (MDS) coordinators. (MDS forms generate a code that determines how much Medicare pays each facility.) Ruckh alleged that there was a treatment disparity between Medicare and Medicaid patients. The former nurse claimed that LaVie treated patients who were on Medicaid as if they did not have a payer source. This lead to different treatment for patients with the same condition based solely on which program they were covered under. Specifically, Ruckh alleged that Medicare claims were based on upcoding.

Ruchk also alleged that Lavie Rehab “ramped up” therapy for patients based on monetary considerations. “They would take 88 to 92 year old people with multiple major health problems — heart problems, dementia, kidney failure, some of whom were on hospice care at the end of life — and they were giving them the highest amount of therapy under the Medicare guidelines. People who could only sit up straight for two minutes without passing out were subjecting them to 720 minutes, 12 hours of therapy a week,” Ruchk said. A statistician was used to help bolster Ruchk’s claims. He used a random sample of Medicaid and Medicare patients and reviewed Ruchk’s claims of upcoding and “amping.” Another nurse and auditor, Shirley Bradley, concluded that on the basis of these findings Medicaid patients were generally ignored and received no or inferior care. “They [LaVie Rehab] didn’t create care plans for the Medicaid patients because that would have been a road map to show that they weren’t providing the care needed. It made no sense to them to produce a plan that would show the care that they were not providing. It would have been a road map showing the disregard for the patient,” said Bradley.

Ruchk’s award of $115 million was determined by the number of submitted false claims. Each false claim is subject to a monetary penalty of between $5,500 and $11,000. If you have chosen to disclose False Claims Act violations to the government it is also advised that you contact a False Claims Act lawyer. A False claims act attorney can advise you in such matters and will work to protect your rights under the law.


Attorney in the Justice Department’s Whistleblower Unit Busted in FBI Sting

The government’s use of the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act hit a bit of a snag as of late last month when the Justice Department prosecutors accused Jeffrey Wertkin of attempting to sell information about a whistleblower’s confidential lawsuit against a Silicon Valley company. At the time, FBI agents had yet to discover whether Wertkin, who left the government last month, got the lawsuit from someone inside the Justice Department or if he sold other secrets as well. The government says that Wertkin attempted to sell secrets about a pending case for $310,000. “They’re going to have to review all his cases,” said Glenn Grossenbacher, a San Antonio whistle-blower attorney not involved in the case. “Did somebody give this case to him? Did he take it with him? Are there other cases involved? It’s a Pandora’s Box of questions.” A spokesperson for the FBI, Matthew Bertron, declined to comment on the accusations.

 

The government uses information provided by whistleblowers to strengthen its case against agencies that are accused of defrauding it. Wertkin, 40, has worked at the Justice Department since 2010. He worked on cases related to the government’s ongoing crackdown on healthcare fraud and remained there until his departure in April 2016. Wertkin began working at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, DC that same year. His job at the company was to defend companies that were being sued under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. According to a legal recruit at Major, Lindsey & Africa, attorneys with Wertkin’s credentials typically make in excess of $500,000 a year.

 

According to prosecutors, Wertkin attempted to sell information to a man he believed worked for the Silicon Valley tech company by saying that he could help him “get ahead of the investigation.” The man turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. Wertkin was later arrested in a California hotel. During his tenure with the Justice Department, Wertkin tried cases involving AseraCare, Inc., PharMerica Corp and Medco Health solutions. PharMerica Corp and Medco Health Solutions paid $31.5 and $7.9 million dollars in settlements respectively. If you have chosen to disclose False Claims Act violations to the government it is also advised that you contact qui tam attorneys. A Qui tam attorney can advise you in such matters and will work to protect your rights under the law.


CA Inc Agrees to Pay the Government $45 Million to Resolve Alleged False Claims Act Violations

The Department of Justice’s crackdown on alleged acts of fraud and abuse has seen many different kinds of businesses accused of dealing with governmental agencies in a less than forthright manner. This was shown to be the case when last week the Department of Justice announced that CA Inc. (CA) had agreed to pay $45 million to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act. The government alleges that the company made false claims and statements while it was negotiating a General Services Administration (GSA) contract. CA is an IT management software services company based in New York. “Today’s settlement demonstrates our continuing vigilance to ensure that contractors deal forthrightly with federal agencies when seeking taxpayer funds,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will take action against contractors who withhold information and cause the government to pay more than it should for commercially available items.”

The settlement resolves allegations that CA filed false claims under a GSA contract that was awarded to the company for software licenses and maintenance services. Under the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract, GSA pre-negotiates prices and contract terms for subsequent orders from federal agencies. The government alleges that CA’s contractors misrepresented how they conducted business in the market place and that this hampered GSA’s ability to negotiate a fair price for CA’s services. The MAS contract also contained a clause stating that CA had to reduce its prices to the government if its prices to commercial customers improved.

In short, the settlement resolves allegations that CA did not disclose its discounting practices to GSA contracting officers when negotiating the MSA contract. The government alleged that CA provided false information about the discounts it gave commercial customers for its software license and maintenance services. These violations are alleged to have occurred in 2002. The contract was extended in 2007 and 2009. Finally, the settlement resolves claims that CA violated the “price reduction” clause that was a part of the MSA contract. “This case illustrates that we will vigorously pursue federal contractors who fail to negotiate and perform their obligations with transparency and fairness,” said U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia. “Together with our federal partners, we will zealously press such claims in court to recover what is owed to the American taxpayer.”
The settlement comes about as the result of a lawsuit that was filed by a Dani Shemesh, a former employee of the CA Software Israel LTD. Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers can sue on behalf of the government and share in any recovery. Shemesh’s share of the settlement comes to $10.195 million. If you know of abuse that has been committed against the government or one of its agencies, you are encouraged to report it and to contact a qui tam lawyer. Qui tam lawyers will be able to advise you in such matters and will work to protect your rights.


Whistleblower Files suit Against a NE Ohio Rehabilitation Center Alleging Medicare Fraud

Late last month whistleblower Lynn Roycroft, a former clinical supervisor, at Abraxas Ohio – a 100 bed Residential Treatment Center for adolescent males owned by GEO Group, Inc. – filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the facility had falsely and fraudulently billed Medicare for counseling sessions that did not occur. The GEO Group, Inc. is a Florida-based, private prison company that specializes in corrections, detention and mental health treatment. It is currently one of the largest private prison companies in the nation. According to Medicaid officials, Abraxas has received more than $33 million in payments from the program since 2012.

 

Roycroft also alleges that men and women who otherwise had no prior education or experience in counseling were hired by Abraxas, given a week of training and then granted positions as counselors for the 100 boys who are housed at the facility. Roycroft further alleges that in addition to the financial and billing irregularities that existed at Abraxas Ohio, that teenage boys were often restrained rather than being given counseling for their drug and/or alcohol abuse. “The philosophy of the institution was to get as many kids in there as you could and bill Medicaid your three hours of group counseling a day, whether the groups happened or not,” Roycroft said. “To me, it’s just blatant fraud.” A representative for, GEO Group, Inc. – Pablo Paez -has denied all allegations and says that his company will “vigorously” defend itself against these charges.
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court, is pending. Roycroft as a whistleblower is seeking unspecified damages. The case aligns with the government’s ongoing efforts at combating health care fraud via its Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team (HEAT) which was announced back in May of 2009 by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The result is that since January 2009 the Justice Department has recovered more than $31.4 billion through False Claims Act cases. Moreover, whistleblowers have been able to utilize a qui tam lawyer to share in settlements that have come about as a result of the government’s efforts. If you have chosen to disclose False Claims Act violations to the government it is also advised that you contact qui tam lawyers. A Qui tam attorney can advise you in such matters and will work to protect your rights under the law.


Two Vessel Engineers Convicted of Environmental Crimes and of Obstruction

The government’s pursuit of fraud and abuse often involves the collaboration of seemly disparate agencies such as the Coast Guard and the Justice Department. This was proven to be the case when the Department of Justice announced late last month that a federal jury in Charleston, South Carolina Court had convicted two chief engineers of the vessel T/V Green Sky of falsifying documents in order to conceal the illegal discharge of oily bilge waste. The two were also convicted of obstruction. Herbert Julian – who served as chief engineer of the ship – was convicted of two felony counts for obstruction of justice. Panagiotis Koutoukakis – chief engineer from February 1 to August 3, 2015 – was also convicted of two felony counts, one for Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) violations plus another for falsifying records. It was also revealed at the time that Aegean Shipping Management, S.A., had previously pleaded guilty to a violation of the APPS and obstruction of justice.

“With Charleston serving as one of the largest ports on the Eastern seaboard, working vessel pollution cases with the Environmental Crimes Section is an important focus for our office,” said U.S. Attorney Beth Drake, District of South Carolina. “Through criminal charges, we can deter those who would dump oily wastes into the world’s oceans and use false documents to cover it up.” The Green Sky is a chemical tanker flagged in Liberia. It generates large amounts of oil-contaminated waste water. This contaminated bilge waste is required to be removed from the vessel before it fills up the bottom of the Engine Room and causes damage to equipment and jeopardizes ship safety. Nevertheless, the law forbids oceangoing vessels from discharging this oily waste water directly into the sea.

 

The evidenced showed that the Green Sky regularly pumped contaminated, oily water directly overboard into the sea. Moreover, not only did the discharges go undisclosed, the records of the Green Sky were alleged to have been falsified in order to cover up these activities. The Green Sky falsified these activities using several methods: the first was that it omitted illegal bypass operations. The second was that it claimed that an oil water separator was used that had not been. Finally, the record books of the Green Sky were falsified with erroneous entries in order to further the cover-up. While nearly all of the discharges occurred in international waters, at least two occurred within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States.

 

Further evidence presented at the trial showed that the chief engineers covered up illegal overboard discharged through a “magic” hose and “magic” valve system that was apparently designed to bypass the ship’s oil water separator. Both Koutoukakis and Julian are said to have falsified the oil record books in order to hide the illegal discharges. These falsified records were ultimately presented to the U.S. Coast Guard during an inspection of the vessel. The Coast Guard was alerted to the deception by three whistleblowers that came forward to report the crimes. Testimony given at Julian’s trial revealed that he had hidden the log prior to the Green Sky’s arrival in Charleston and then lied to the Coast Guard about the vessel having a sounding log.

 

Prior to the trial, the Green Sky’s operator, Aegean Shipping Management, S.A., pleaded guilty to one APPS violation for illegally discharging waste into the sea and one count of obstruction. Moreover, unsealed documents revealed that the operating company agreed to pay a $2 million penalty. Aegean Shipping was also sentenced to probation and made to follow an environmental compliance plan. A second engineer, Nikolaos Bounovas, was acquitted of all charges against him. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Charleston and the Coast Guard Investigative Service. The case was prosecuted with the help of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Section and several other agencies. If you know of abuse that has been committed against the government or one of its agencies you are encouraged to report it and to contact a qui tam lawyer. An expert in qui tam law will be able to advise you in such matters and will work to protect your rights.


Four Pennsylvania-Based Companies and Two Individuals Agree to Pay $3 Million to Resolve Alleged False Claims Act and Customs Violations

Occasionally, the government’s crackdown on fraud touches businesses that have an international clientele. This was shown last February when the Department of Justice announced that three Pennsylvania-based importers – Ameri-Source International Inc., Ameri-Source Specialty Products Inc., Ameri-Source Holdings Inc. – and their owners, Ajay Goel and Thomas Diener, had agreed to pay $3 million to resolve violations of the False Claims Act. The lawsuit alleged that – among other things – the companies had engaged in a scheme to evade custom duties on small diameter graphite electrodes from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). (Small diameter electrodes are used as fuel in electric arc and ladle furnaces which are used in the production of steel.) Imports of PRC-manufactured small-diameter graphite electrodes have been subject to antidumping duties since Aug. 21, 2008. “This settlement shows that the Department of Justice is committed to pursuing claims against anyone involved in a scheme to seek an unfair advantage in U.S. markets by evading duties on imported goods, including the individuals who run the companies and knowingly participate in such schemes,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division at the time.

 

The settlement resolved allegations that from December 2009 to March 2012 Ameri-Source International Inc. evaded anti-dumping duties on 15 shipments of small diameter electrodes it had imported from the PRC. Moreover, the government alleged that Ameri-Source and other companies conspired in a scheme to evade duties on these imports. Ameri-Source International would later plead guilty to two counts of smuggling based on the charges. It also admitted to misrepresenting the size of the graphite rods. The corporation was sentenced to pay a $250,000 criminal fine within 10 days. “This settlement underscores one of HSI’s primary efforts, which is to ensure a level playing field for companies engaged in legitimate trade and commerce with the United States,” said Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia. “HSI special agents will continue to protect the revenue of the United States and aggressively investigate individuals and companies who attempt to operate outside our laws and regulations.”

 

The allegations that were resolved by the settlement were brought about by a whistleblower at Graphite Electrode Sales Inc. under the provisions of the False Claims Act. This act permits private parties to sue on behalf of the government in cases of False Claims Act violations and to share in any recover that comes as a result of the lawsuit. Graphite Electrode Sales Inc. received approximately $480,000 as its share of the settlement. If you know of abuse that has been committed against the government or one of its agencies you are encouraged to report it and to contact a qui tam lawyer. A qui tam attorney can advise you in such matters and will work to protect your rights under the law.


Appeals Court Rules that the Settlement in the Quest Diagnostic Qui Tam case can be Publicly Revealed.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Pennsylvania ruled that a shared agreement between two qui tam claimants who brought suits against Quest Diagnostics can be made available for public view. The Court ruled in the case of Fair Laboratory Practices Associates v. Riedel that making the settlement agreement available for public viewing would not result in personal harm and that allowing its disclosure was also in the public interest. The suit arose from a qui tam suit brought against Quest Diagnostics (QDI) in a California state court by plaintiffs Riedel and Hunter Laboratories. Both parties filed numerous suits against QDI and other laboratories in the case. Under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, private parties can sue on behalf of the government in cases of False Claims Act violations and share in any recover that comes about as a result of the lawsuit.

According to court documents, Fair Laboratory Practices Associates and Hunter entered into a qui tam sharing agreement and agreed to share in their respective suits against QDI and other laboratories. Appellate Judges Thomas Ambro, Patty Shwartz and Julio Fuentes ruled for a seal reversal, saying that that the district court had, “too quickly discounted the public’s interest,” in the case. (In 2009 Quest Diagnostics agreed to pay the U.S. $302 million to resolve allegations that a subsidiary sold misbranded test kits. In 2015, Quest Diagnostics agreed to pay the United States $1.79 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations)

The case is a part of the government’s ongoing efforts at combating health care fraud via its Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team (HEAT) which was announced back in May of 2009 by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The result is that since January 2009 the Justice Department has recovered more than $31.4 billion through False Claims Act cases. If you have chosen to disclose False Claims Act violations to the government it is also advised that you contact qui tam lawyers. Qui tam attorneys can advise you in such matters and will work to protect your rights under the law.


TeamHealth Holdings Agrees to Pay $60 Million to Settle Medicare and Medicaid False Claims Act Allegations

When it comes to companies that are alleged to have defrauded the government, overbilling seems to be a recurring theme. This was shown to be the case when earlier this month, the Justice Department announced that hospital service provider, TeamHealth Holdings had agreed to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare, Medicaid, the Defense Health Agency and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for higher and more expensive levels of medical care than were actually performed. (This practice is known as “up-coding.”) Under the terms of a settlement agreement, TeamHealth will pay more than $60 million. “This settlement reflects our ongoing commitment to ensure that health care providers appropriately bill government programs vital to patient health care,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

 

The government alleged that TeamHealth knowingly encouraged false billing by its hospitals. Specifically, the Justice Department charged that TeamHealth encouraged hospitals to bill for higher levels of service than were actually provided to their customers. These efforts to improperly maximize billing allegedly included pressure on hospitals with lower billing levels to match the billing levels of their peers. “When health care companies boost their profits by misrepresenting the services they bill to taxpayer-funded health care programs, our office will make sure they are held accountable for their deceptive schemes and that they make changes to bill these programs appropriately,” said Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh of HHS-OIG.

 

TeamHealth has also entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). The CIA – which is a part of the $60 million settlement – is designed to improve the company’s accountability and transparency in order to avoid a repetition of these kinds of acts. “Medical providers who fraudulently seek payments to which they are not entitled will be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon for the Northern District of Illinois. “False documentation of treatment is not just flawed patient care; it is illegal.”

 

The settlement came about as the result of a lawsuit that was filed by Dr. Bijan Oughatiyan, a physician formerly employed by TeamHealth as a hospitalist. The suit was filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act. This act permits private parties to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery. Dr. Oughatiyan is scheduled to receive approximately $11.4 million. If you know of abuse that has been committed against the government or one of its agencies you are encouraged to report it and to contact a qui tam lawyer. A Qui tam attorney can advise you in such matters and will work to protect your rights under the law.


Princess Cruise Lines Agrees to Pay $40 Million to Resolve Allegations of Deliberate Waste Dumping

The government’s crackdown on fraud and abuse sometimes has international import as was demonstrated last month when a spokesperson for the Department of Justice announced that Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. (Princess) had agreed to plead guilty to seven felony charges that it deliberately polluted the seas and had then intentionally tried to cover it up. The company agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty ever involving deliberate vessel pollution. Princess also pled guilty to charges that it dumped oil and waste from its Caribbean Princess cruise ship into the sea. As part of the plea agreement, cruise ships from eight Carnival cruise line companies are now being held under a court supervised Environmental Compliance Program (ECP) for five years. As a requirement of the ECP, Princess and its eight cruise lines will be required to have an outside entity and a court appointed monitor its compliance with pollution regulations.

 

An investigation of Princess began when a whistleblower provided information to the U.S. Coast Guard and the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), that the Cruise line had hired an engineer who was using a “magic pipe” to illegally discharge oil waste off the coast of England. This whistleblower later quit his job. The chief engineer and senior first officer were ordered to cover-up this illegal dumping and to order subordinates to do the same. The U.S. Coast Guard conducted an investigation of the Caribbean Princess in late September 2013 during which crew members continued to lie in compliance with the instructions they were given by their superiors.

 

According to court papers, the Caribbean Princess had been engaging in illegal dumping since 2005. Indeed, an August 26, 2013 waste discharge by the ship involved approximately 4,227 gallons, 23 miles off the coast of England. At that time, its engineers ran seawater through its equipment in order to create a false digital record that covered up such activity. Other illegal dumping methods utilized by Caribbean Princess included the use of an unauthorized bypass pipe to discharge waste off the coast of England. When the Justice Department ordered the removal of this valve they found that it contained black oil. A final practice that the Caribbean Princess and its lines used to circumvent pollution regulations was that it opened a salt water valve when bilge waste was being processed by the oily water separator and oil content monitor. This resulted in waste being pumped back into the graywater system rather than being processed as oily bilge waste.

 

“This shows just how well the U.K. and U.S. can work together on these kinds of cases,” said Jeremy Smart, head of enforcement at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency of the United Kingdom. “It also sends a clear message to the industry that this kind of pollution practice will not be tolerated anywhere in the world.  It also shows that we will always take any information we are given by those who report such practices to us very seriously and will act upon it.”

 

Princess also admitted – among other violations – to the following:

 

  • Illegal discharges took place on the Caribbean Princess dating back to 2005
  • Senior ship engineers dismantled the bypass pipe and instructed crew members to lie
  • Prior to the MCA boarding, the chief engineer and senior first engineer ordered crew members to lie

 

Remedial measures have been taken against Princess as a result of the government’s investigation. Princess must now upgrade its oily water separators and oil content monitors. The cruise line has also instituted many new policies that are designed to help it comply with pollution regulations. The government sought approval that $10 million of the $40 million dollar criminal penalty be devoted to projects that benefit the maritime environment. Parts of the penalty are also scheduled to help other environmental efforts in the UK and in South Florida.

 

If you know of potential violations of the False Claims Act, you are encouraged to contact a qui tam lawyer. Qui tam lawyers will be able to advise you as to your legal options. They will also be able to further educate you about this Act.


Former Tenet Healthcare Corporation Exec Charged for Allegedly Attempting to Defraud the Government of $400 Million – False Claims Act

The government, in its pursuit of fraudulent activities committed by private institutions, often encounters executives who are alleged to have violated not just the False Claims Act but also other laws as well. This was shown to be the case when last week the Department announced that a former senior executive of Tenet Healthcare Corporation had been indicted for his alleged role in scheming to defraud the government of $400 million. The Department alleges that the scheme targeted not only the U.S. government but the Georgia and South Carolina Medicaid Programs and prospective patients of Tenet hospitals. The executive – John Holland – was charged in an indictment filed on January 24, 2017 with one count of mail fraud, one count of health care fraud and two counts of major fraud against the United States. His initial appearance on the charges was on Feb 1 before a judge in the Southern District of Florida. False Claims Act

The indictment alleges that from 2000 through 2013, Holland engaged in a plan to defraud the US government and the Georgia and South Carolina Medicaid Programs by causing the payment of bribes and kickbacks to be made in exchange for patient referrals to several Tenet owned facilities. From approximately 2007 through 2013, Tenet maintained billing several centers located in Boca Raton, Florida. These centers processed Medicaid billings for Tenet hospitals. Holland – it is alleged – attempted to conceal the scheme by circumventing internal account controls and by falsifying Tenet’s books, records and reports. As a result of his scheme, Tenet was able to bill Georgia and South Carolina Medicaid Programs over $400 million. Moreover, the indictment alleges that Tenet obtained more than $149 million in Medicare funds based on the patient referrals that came about as a result of kickbacks and bribes.

The indictment also alleges that Holland made false statements to the HHS-OIG in connection with a 2006 Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) that Tenet entered into in 2006. The government says that Holland falsely stated that they were in compliance with the CIA when in fact he knew that Tenet was paying for illegal patient referrals. Finally, the indictment alleges that from 2007 through 2011, Tenet received over $10 billion in payment from federal health care programs. These monies would not have been received by Tenet had they been excluded from participation in federal health care programs. “Medicaid patients have the right to seek healthcare without fearing that care is tainted by bribes and illegal kickbacks,” said Special Agent in Charge for FBI’s Atlanta Division LeValley. “Not only did patients suffer because of these alleged actions, but this kind of alleged abuse threatens to drive up the cost of healthcare for everyone.  The FBI is committed to ensuring that federal laws related to the healthcare industry are enforced, and this case is an example of that commitment.”

 

In late 2016, North Fulton Medical Center Inc. and Atlanta Medical Center Inc. both pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute. Tenet and its subsidiary Tenet HealthSystem Medical Inc (THSM) entered into a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with the government at that time. Under the terms of the agreement, THSM and Tenet will avoid prosecution if they cooperate with the government’s investigation and enhance their compliance with an ethics program and certain internal controls. Tenet agreed to have an independent compliance monitor address and to reduce any reoccurrence of the incidences that are alleged to have occurred in the indictment. Tenet has also agreed to pay over $513 million to resolve the criminal charges and civil claims arising from the matter

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force now operates in nine locations across the country. The Strike Force has charged nearly 3,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $11 billion. If you know of abuse that has been committed against the government or one of its agencies you are encouraged to report it and to contact a False Claims Act lawyer. A False Claims Act attorney can advise you in such matters and will work to protect your rights under the law.  False Claims Act