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New York Whistleblower And Commercial Litigation Blog

US joins whistleblower suit against Arriva Medical for kickbacks

The False Claims Act allows private parties -- often the employees of companies that contract with the government -- to file lawsuits on the government's behalf. When these whistleblowers have evidence of fraud, waste or abuse in a government contract, they can sue to help the government reclaim the money. In exchange for their service, the whistleblowers receive between 15 and 30 percent of the total recovery as a reward.

In some cases, the government, typically represented by the Justice Department, takes over responsibility for trying these cases. Government contractors who are found in violation of the False Claims Act, they can be held responsible for three times the government's losses, plus penalties.

Lockheed Martin, others accused of lying in government contract

The Department of Justice has accused Lockheed Martin Corporation, certain affiliated companies, and at least one executive of making false claims against the government and accepting kickbacks in regard to a multibillion-dollar contract. The contract was to clean up a nuclear site in Hanford, Washington.

The defendants in the government's lawsuit include Lockheed Martin Corporation, Lockheed Martin Services, Inc. (LMSI), and Mission Support Alliance LLC (MSA), along with companies that owned or were affiliated with MSA at points during the contracting process, including Lockheed Martin Integrated Technology LLC. The activities described took place between Jan. 1, 2010, through June 2016.

Whistleblower to receive $200,000 in False Claims Act case

"Businessmen and companies that lie to get their hands on taxpayer money will be held accountable for their actions," said a U.S. Attorney. "When some people cheat, those who play by the rules are put at a disadvantage."

He was talking about Omega Protein Corp. and Omega Protein, Inc. (Omega), a leading producer of fish oil, specialty fishmeal and organic fish solubles that are used by aquaculture and livestock feed manufacturers.

You could benefit from reporting to the IRS this tax season

Some people grew up in homes where telling on another person for their wrongdoings, otherwise referred to as tattling, was frowned upon. This is perhaps due to the idea that children’s zest for telling on a sibling is irritating for a parent. It could also have something to do with an effort to teach children to take responsibility for their own actions. However, telling on someone for their unethical or illegal behavior as an adult often has a completely different effect.

Many organizations, including governmental entities, implement whistleblower policies. In some cases, an employee might spot a violation in the daily operations of a company. As a result, employee reports can be invaluable to a business. For federal organizations, reports from the public can contribute to saving an agency a large sum of money.

Whistleblower to receive $1.6 million in False Claims Act case

"Patients and taxpayers rightly should expect that referrals be based on sound medical judgement, not driven by thinly veiled bribes, as alleged here," said a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

Maintaining the integrity of medical decision-making is one of the main reasons behind the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Physician Self-Referral Law (Stark Law). The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, soliciting, paying or receiving money in order to induce referrals of services or items covered by federally funded health programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The Stark Law prohibits hospitals from billing Medicare for services referred by doctors when the hospital has an improper compensation arrangement with those doctors.

Walgreens whistleblower suits result in $269.2-million settlement

Between 2006 and 2017, according to the Justice Department, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., billed Medicare, Medicaid and other government healthcare programs for hundreds of thousands of insulin pens that it knowingly dispensed to people who did not need them. The nationwide pharmacy has agreed to pay $209.2 million to settle the government's claims.

Additionally, Walgreens was accused of overcharging Medicaid between 2008 and 2017 by failing to disclose and charge the discounted drug rates it offered to the general public. For failing to offer Medicaid patients the lowest rate, it defrauded the government and will pay an additional $60 million.

New York whistleblower to receive $62.7 million in Sprint lawsuit

In December, the New York Attorney General's Office and the state tax commissioner reached a record-breaking settlement with Sprint and several subsidiaries. A whistleblower filed a lawsuit under the state's false claims act, which allows private citizens to file lawsuits on behalf of the government when they notice fraud, waste or abuse in state contracting.

That whistleblower will receive a reward of $62.7 million out of a total settlement of $330 million. This is the largest-ever recovery by a single state in a lawsuit filed under a state false claims act.

What is a qui tam action under the federal False Claims Act?

If you work for an organization that contracts with the federal government, you may have observed questionable or even fraudulent activity. Did you know you could earn a substantial reward by blowing the whistle on fraud, waste or abuse of a federal contract or program? The reward could be between 15 and 30 percent of any money recovered on behalf of the government.

Blowing the whistle in this way typically involves the federal False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to file lawsuits against organizations that knowingly bill the government for more than it should owe. There are also state-level false claims acts across the country. False Claims Act lawsuits are among those the legal community refers to as "qui tam actions."

Whistleblower reveals hospital's Stark, Anti-Kickback violations

"By bringing allegations of fraud to light, whistleblowers play an important role in protecting the integrity of our healthcare system," says the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

He was discussing the role of a whistleblower in a recent case involving violations of the Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act. That whistleblower, a former executive vice president at a West Virginia hospital, filed suit against his hospital to bring those violations to light.

The DOJ is dismissing more qui tam lawsuits. What does this mean?

Every year, numerous whistleblowers file qui tam lawsuits after noticing fraudulent activity. Under the False Claims Act (FCA), someone who has evidence of fraud against the federal government can file a claim and receive protection from retaliation—and possibly a financial award for reporting the fraud.

But last year, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief stating that it would dismiss a qui tam cases that it does not deem pertinent to the public interest. In the few months since it was filed, this unprecedented brief has had major implications for many FCA lawsuits.

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