Articles Tagged with government fraud attorney

In_the_crosshairs-300x200This February, a federal district judge from the Southern District of New York, part of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, determined a whistleblower who voluntarily dismissed his False Claims Act (FCA) case against L-3 Communications EOTech Inc. in 2014 could not share in a settlement later reached between L-3 Communications and the federal government in 2015. While this ruling may not be law across the U.S., it is an important opinion for potential qui tam plaintiffs to consider since other federal judges would likely come to the same conclusions. Ultimately, whistleblowers will need to see the entire case through to benefit from a settlement or judgment in the government’s favor.

The L-3 Communications Case

The whistleblower against L-3 Communications was a quality control engineer for the company from May to June 2013. In August 2013, he stated that the company sold defective holographic firearm sights to the American military and law enforcement agencies. The sights were supposed to work in temperatures from negative 40 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and with humidity. However, they were allegedly defective because they were inaccurate in extreme hot and cold temperatures and humid conditions.

hduan6byeze-chris-lawton-300x200The False Claims Act is a crucial tool for the government to be able to recover fraudulently obtained or retained funds. Under the FCA, the federal government, or private citizens on its behalf, can bring lawsuits against individuals or certain entities that have made a false or fraudulent claim, resulting in that individual or entity wrongfully obtaining or keeping money from the government. Fraudulent claims are often made in relation to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid so that individuals or entities receive greater disbursements than they deserve. Under the FCA, the individuals who can be held liable for false claims are “any person.” However, the federal courts have been left to define who counts as a person and who does not.

U.S. ex rel. Brinkley v. University of Louisville

In January, the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Kentucky in the case U.S. ex rel. Brinkley v. University of Louisville had to answer the question of whether a party accused of making a false claim was a person. This federal court is neither the first to do so, nor will it be the last. The plaintiffs in this case filed a qui tam action as private citizens on behalf of the federal government against the University of Louisville, two of the university’s foundations, and eight university researchers. The court found based on previous federal decisions that a state university cannot be held liable under the FCA because it is not a person. No state agencies or entities that can be considered arms of the state are people under the FCA.

In Fiscal Year 2015, the government, often with the assistance of private whistleblowers, recovered more than $3.5 billion using the False Claims Act to target companies and individuals who attempted to commit fraud and steal money from federal government programs.  We took a broad look at these recoveries a couple of weeks back, today we take a narrower focus: health care fraud.  We believe that looking at these cases can help people understand what sort of actions violate the FCA and encourage them to contact our whistleblowers’ law firm.  As the 2015 numbers show, the FCA works and individuals can play a major role in the fight against fraud targeting Medicare, Medicaid, and other vital government health care programs.

$1.9 Billion Recovered in Health Care Fraud False Claims Act Cases in 2015

According to the Department of Justice’s press release announcing the successes under the FCA in FY2015, $1.9 billion of the $3.5 billion recovered on behalf of the federal government last year came from the health care industry.  This makes the total health care fraud dollars recovered via the FCA since January 2009 nearly $16.5 billion.  Importantly, these numbers are limited to federal dollars returned to federal programs.  Quite often, health care fraud prosecutions include additional charges involving state programs and can include recoveries on behalf of these programs as well, especially when cases involve Medicaid which is a joint federal/state venture.

Why do we spend so much time talking about the False Claims Act (“FCA” or “the Act”)?  The short answer: It works.  Through the FCA, our government fraud attorney is able to partner with private citizens to fight back against those who knowingly take money from government programs.  A frightening amount of fraud occurs every year, much of it quite intentionally, including fraud targeting health care programs for the elderly, programs to aid the poor, military contract spending, and other important causes.  However, we continue to have hope.  The FCA is an excellent tool for fighting back, as illustrated by the recent government press release detailing the successes of the False Claims Act in 2015, and the honesty of ordinary citizens fuels its success.

piggybankFCA Results for FY2015

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued a press release with a title that speaks for itself: “Justice Department Recovers Over $3.5 Billion From False Claims Act Cases in Fiscal Year 2015.”  This makes four consecutive years with FCA recoveries exceeding the $3.5 billion mark and brings the total recovered under the FCA from January 2009 through the end of Fiscal Year 2015 (“FY2015;” unless otherwise indicated “2015” also refers to Fiscal Year 2015) to $16.4 billion.