The whistleblower attorneys at Goldberg Kohn are committed to fighting fraud against the government and protecting the rights of whistleblowers. Below are summaries of recent developments pertaining to whistleblower, qui tam, and False Claims Act actions throughout the United States.
New York has proposed legislation that would enhance whistleblower awards and create protections for information given to the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) – an agency that regulates banks and insurance companies in New York. Although New York State’s existing False Claims Act rewards whistleblowers for successful claims involving fraud against the state government, the proposed legislation would expand the financial wrongs covered by the law. The new law would closely track the whistleblower protections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and provide eligible whistleblowers financial rewards of between 10 and 30 percent of any monetary sanctions obtained by DFS for violations of New York’s banking, insurance, and financial services laws.
At Goldberg Kohn, our dedicated whistleblower attorneys understand the critical role that whistleblowers play in the recovery of fraudulently obtained funds and the enforcement of financial regulations. Because whistleblowers are essential to a successful False Claims Act case and because they put their lives and livelihood in jeopardy by coming forward to report instances of fraud, it is important that they receive full and fair financial compensation.
A federal lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act alleges that long-term care pharmacy giant PharMerica dispensed controlled narcotics without valid prescriptions and, thereby, fraudulently charged Medicare for those medications. The lawsuit filed by the federal government stems from case filed in 2009 by whistleblower Jennifer Denk, a former employee of the company. According to Ms. Denk, PharMerica regularly filled nursing homes' orders for oxycodone and other Schedule II narcotics without a proper prescription. The medications were then billed to Medicare, according to the government’s allegations.
In addition to False Claims Act charges, the lawsuit also includes charges that the company violated the Controlled Substances Act by enabling nursing home staff to order narcotics, and pharmacists to dispense narcotics, before a doctor had determined whether the drugs were necessary for the patient.
A Kentucky lawyer has been accused of orchestrating a scheme to defraud the Social Security Administration of $22.7 million in attorney's fees from the Social Security Administration since 2001. According to a U.S. Senate committee, Eric C. Conn received preferential treatment from Judge David Daugherty at the SSA’s regional Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Huntington, West Virginia. Based upon information provided by two whistleblowers, from 2005 to 2011, Judge Daugherty approved the disability appeals that Conn requested in 3,143 cases without a single denial, compared to a 60 percent approval rate for disability appeals nationwide. Conn then received a portion of the disability awards his clients’ received, and Daugherty’s career benefited as he became known as one of the SSA’s fastest judges.
The whistleblowers filed a federal lawsuit against Conn and Daugherty in 2011 under the False Claims Act.
A Mississippi hospice – Angelic Hospice – and its owner have been accused of running a multimillion Medicare fraud scheme, including the use of ill-gotten funds to purchase 20 cars since December 2009. Court documents reveal that, from 2007 to 2012, the hospice allegedly billed Medicare for more than $11 million dollars for services that were never rendered, and relied on forged documents to obtain some of the payments. The hospice’s owner, Regina Swims-King, was charged in June in a 37-count criminal indictment, with the trial scheduled for December 2.
Please contact us at (312) 863-7222 if you would like to learn more about any of the aforementioned whistleblower news updates or would like to schedule a free, confidential appointment with one of our nationally recognized whistleblower attorneys.