Now, This Might Hurt a Little: Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Practice Pays $790,000 to Settle False Claims Act Lawsuit

Brown, LLC Whistleblower awarded $142,200.

Whistleblower law firm Brown, LLC continued with its streak of victories with its whistleblower lawsuits by obtaining a $142,200 whistleblower award for an individual who blew the whistle on a alleged variety of fraud on Medicare and Tricare. With the assistance of the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, Brown LLC was able to help an honest and diligent whistleblower put an end to the fraudulent billing of government health insurances by a Therapy and Sports Medicine, Inc. practice headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina.

The whistleblower alleged that the practice where she had previously worked as a receptionist and scheduler, had knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare and TRICARE for one-on-one therapy services when in reality those services were provided to patients on a group basis. The whistleblower also alleged that the practice had knowingly submitted claims for services provided by unsupervised assistants, and claims for attended electrical stimulation services that were actually unattended. These schemes enabled the practice to receive higher reimbursements than it deserved, thereby cheating the government and the taxpayer.

The relator, which is the term used for a plaintiff who brings a qui tam action under the False Claims Act (FCA) was able to establish the case through very little documentary evidence, but a very detailed, credible host of allegations regarding the Medicare Fraud.  Brown, LLC worked with the Plaintiff to draft a successful False Claims Act lawsuit and following the procedure set forth in the FCA by filing the matter under seal, conducting a relator interview and ultimately assisting the United States government in crafting a whistleblower settlement.

This settlement illustrates an important point: even whistleblower cases where there’s not a substantial amount of money at stake or not a lot of documents can still reap sizable benefits, both for the public and the whistleblower and help hold companies accountable.

As the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina said in announcing the settlement,

“Medical billing fraud drives up the cost of healthcare and diverts critical resources from federal healthcare programs. Whistleblower suits, like this one, are one of the government’s most effective tools at detecting fraud and protecting the integrity of our burdened healthcare system.”

If you’re aware of fraud upon Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, or any other government program, please contact the whistleblower lawyers at Brown, LLC who offer free whistleblower consultations by calling (877) 561-0000 or emailing fightfraud@jtblawgroup.com. You can read more about Brown LLC’s whistleblower achievements by clicking here. 

Going Green Doesn’t Always Mean Keeping Green – Renewable Energy Program False Claims Act Settlement

Various entities must pay $2.6 million to resolve False Claims Act (FCA) violations alleging the received reimbursements for programs and costs they did not incur. The False Claims Act allows private individuals (referred to as relators) to bring actions against entities who defraud the United States government and shares with the victorious a portion of the recovery which is known as a whistleblower award.

Congress’s well-intentioned Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 incentivized corporations to enable “renewable energy properties,” with government reimbursement up to 30% for certain projects.  Where there is money available for a good thing, however, there are always people and companies ready to wear the badge of goodness and exploit it for their own economic gain.

The allegations of the United States are that a company known as Eagle Valley applied for the bio-friendly program for reimbursement for its investment in one of its non-green actual physical plants.  The application indicated that Eagle Valley agreed with Evergreen to perform certain types of services. Evergreen was incentivized on a percentage basis for the cost of building the plant.

Without using the actual numbers to illustrate what occurred, assuming Eagle Valley put in for $10 million dollars of reimbursement from the federal government, Eagle Valley told the government that $3.3 million of those monies would go to Evergreen. The United States taxpayers through the federal government paid Eagle Valley, but Eagle Valley never paid Evergreen and Evergreen never sought payment. It is unclear what led to those circumstances, but what is clear is that after Eagle Valley received funds that were designated to go elsewhere, they were not entitled to keep those funds after the earmarked company was not paid and was not going to be paid.

Former FBI Special Agent Jason T. Brown    and head of Brown, LLC (a law firm that focuses on protecting whistleblowers ) indicated:

“Once again this was great work on behalf of the federal government holding those accountable who have allegedly ripped off the taxpayer.  Every year there’s billions of dollars of fraud and through the False Claims Act whistleblowers can help the taxpayer recoup its losses while receiving a whistleblower award for their cooperation.” 

 

Although this case was not handled by Brown, LLC, Mr. Brown’s whistleblower law firm remains active and vigilant in protections whistleblowers and prosecuting whistleblower lawsuits nationwide. The firm offers free whistleblower consultations by calling (877) 561-0000 or emailing fightfraud@jtblawgroup.  Brown, LLC is a private firm and although it works cooperatively with the federal government, is not part of the federal government.

 

The Secrets of the Best Whistleblower Lawyer(s) – Part 1

Who is the best whistleblower lawyer near me?  Still a common question, with a complicated answer.  One needs to delve into what area of whistleblower lawyer one needs.

The most common and successful whistleblower actions in recent years involve the False Claims Act, which used to be known as the Lincoln Law.  The False Claims Act (“FCA”) is implicated when the whistleblower also known as the relator knows of companies, doctors, medical facilities, defense contractors or others who have and/or are defrauding the federal government, which in turn is defrauding you, the taxpayer.  The FCA has aggressive penalties which include triple damages, and relator awards can obtain up to 30% of the government’s recovery which can result in a substantial whistleblower award.

Whistleblower awards are evaluated based on a multitude of factors, such as how cooperative and forthcoming you’ve been, whether you profited from the fraud, how long you knew of the fraud before blowing the whistle to name a few.  Mathematically, if you know about a Million Dollar False Claims Act, and the fraudster is solvent enough, they can be hit with a 3-million-dollar verdict.  If the government intervenes in all likelihood your percentage as a whistleblower award will only go as high as 25%, but in all likelihood 20% or less, which in this example still could result in a $600,000 whistleblower award, which is not bad for doing the right thing.  Consider that when the government intervenes the average settlement is around 12 million dollars, 20% of that could result in  2.4 million dollar whistleblower award.   Of course, results vary depending on what your actual case is.

Qui tam litigation is not for general practice lawyers, it is a highly specialized area of law that requires interfacing with the Federal Government in secrecy and making sure you keep that secret.  Most firms that practice and are accomplished whistleblower law firms have former FBI Special Agents (like our firm Brown, LLC), or United States Attorneys or both on their staff to navigate the landscape.

The bulk of the cases seem to focus on Medicare Fraud, and Medicaid Fraud, but a savvy firm can try to maximize your case if it possibly implicates states statutes that provide for additional forms of discovery like the Illinois, California and New York statutes.

If you’re looking for a Chicago Whistleblower lawyer, it’s important that they are familiar with both the state and federal whistleblower laws, similarly a New York Whistleblower lawyer should know whether they can obtain further mileage out of the New York Qui Tam statute.

Outside of the False Claims Act, the other statutes that have resulted in big settlements for whistleblowers include the SEC whistleblower laws, the CFTC whistleblower laws and the IRS whistleblower laws, along with a swath of state whistleblower laws and various other sneaky statutes that may be implicated.

Since whistleblower cases are shrouded in secrecy, firms don’t always tout their accomplishments, then again others do.  A fair question to ask a firm you’re considering is if they’re handling a case similar to the fact pattern you present or how they will handle the case you present in terms of where they’re filing, and whether its even worth filing at all?

There are many secrets of top whistleblower lawyers, but the best way to learn them and to find out if you have a case is to speak with a whistleblower law firm, like Brown, LLC (877) 561-0000 who can offer you a free, confidential whistleblower consultation.