“Improper financial arrangements between government officials and private contractors corrupt taxpayer-funded contracts,” says the acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
A former financial administrator for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has just agreed to settle allegations that he violated the federal Anti-Kickback Act. The Act prohibits offering or exchanging anything of value in an effort to induce or reward referrals of federal healthcare contracts or program business. The man, who worked in Texas, has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle the allegations. In 2014, he pled guilty to a felony charge of failing to disclose payments he had received, which was his obligation under federal employment rules.
According to the Department of Justice, the man accepted improper payments from a Texas company, Integrated Medical Solutions, Inc., (IMS) in exchange for helping IMS obtain BOP contracts. IMS and its former president have already agreed to pay over $2.4 million to resolve civil allegations related to the allegations.
The alleged scheme involved contracts to manage healthcare networks providing medical care to federal prison inmates. The DOJ accused the former administrator of providing IMS with non-public, confidential information which gave the company an unfair advantage in the bidding process for the contracts. Additionally, once IMS won the contracts, the former administrator improperly assisted the company in the performance of those contracts, which was a conflict of interest with his duties as a financial administrator.
“This case, in which our office both criminally prosecuted the responsible employee and civilly recovered almost $2.5 million for the federal fisc, should serve as an example and warning to others who might be similarly tempted to abuse positions of trust in federal programs funded with taxpayer dollars,” said the U.S. attorney for the district.
According to the terms of the settlement, there has been no determination of liability except to the extent of the admission in the former administrator’s guilty plea.
If you work with federal healthcare contracts, you may be in a position to blow the whistle on kickbacks or other fraudulent behavior. If you are considering doing so, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer before you take any concrete steps. An attorney can help you minimize the risk of retaliation while determining if you are eligible for a reward for doing the right thing.