The Justice Department has accused defense contracting giant Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation (NGSC) of overbilling for employee hours on two Air Force battlefield communications contracts. It has now agreed to pay $25.8 million to settle those claims without admitting responsibility. When added to previous repayments, the company will have paid $27.45 million to reimburse the government. In addition, it has agreed to forfeit $4.2 million to resolve criminal allegations brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California.
Three former employees of a UK-based marine services contractor called Inchcape Shipping Services Holdings Limited filed a lawsuit accusing Inchcape and some of its subsidiaries with intentionally defrauding the U.S. Navy. The federal government intervened in the case, which was brought under the False Claims Act. Under the FCA, the government can obtain triple damages and penalties from parties who commit fraud in relation to government contracts.
Respiratory equipment supplier Rotech Healthcare, Inc., has agreed to settle False Claims Act Allegations for $9.68 million. Moreover, as part of the settlement agreement, the company admits that it knowingly billed Medicare for portable oxygen tanks (contents) that patients didn't need or use -- and regardless of whether the tanks were actually delivered.
The Department of Justice and a large number of states collaborated on a settlement with dental management company Benevis LLC and over 130 Kool Smiles dental clinics that Benevis provided services for. The clinics and Benevis have agreed to settle allegations of false claims made against state Medicaid programs. The companies allegedly submitted claims for medically unnecessary dental procedures, and procedures that were not performed, on Medicaid-insured children.
A whistleblower has filed suit against a chain of Massachusetts mental health care centers, claiming the company defrauded the state and federal governments of $130 million. The accusation is that the company allowed "unlicensed, unqualified, and unsupervised employees" to treat patients. Doing so would be in clear violation of Medicaid regulations and requirements, the suit says.
A New York City pharmacist is facing both a civil complaint and criminal charges after allegedly bilking Medicaid out of $11 million. The pharmacist is accused of giving kickbacks to Medicaid patients in exchange for the opportunity to refill their prescriptions -- or to buy the prescriptions outright and bill Medicaid despite never intending to fill them. The patients were typically poor and the prescriptions were often for expensive HIV medications.
The Justice Department has just announced what it calls the "largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history." 412 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other licensed medical professionals have been charged with a massive kickback scheme involving the prescription of opioid medications. The scheme allegedly involved $1.3 billion in false billing to Medicare, Medicaid and TRiCARE insurance, and people were charged in 41 federal districts.
There has been some concern that with the election of pro-business Donald J. Trump, False Claims Act cases might dwindle. A Nov. 28 report from the National Law Review dismisses that likelihood. Nevertheless, the report does see change on the horizon.