The Department of Justice recently announced the settlements, listed below, in False Claims Act cases. The False Claims Act permits private parties to sue on behalf of the government those who falsely claim federal funds or avoid paying funds owed to the government. The United States may intervene in and take over the lawsuit. The False Claims Act also allows the whistleblower to receive a share of any funds recovered through the lawsuit. The False Claims Act is one of the most powerful tools to combat government contract fraud. Since January 2009, the Justice Department has recovered a total of more than $23.8 billion through False Claims Act cases, with more than $15.2 billion of that amount recovered in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs.
Dr. Charles Denham, of Laguna Beach, California, has agreed to pay the United States $1 million to settle allegations that he violated the False Claims Act by soliciting and accepting kickbacks, according to an announcement by the Justice Department. Denham is a patient safety consultant who operates the consulting company Health Care Concepts Inc. and the research organization Texas Medical Institute of Technology, both of which are also parties to the settlement. In 2009 and 2010, Denham was co-chair of the Safe Practices Committee of the National Quality Forum.
Two South Florida medical doctors and their wives have agreed to settle allegations that they violated the False Claims Act when their wives accepted sham marketer salaries in exchange for their husbands’ referrals to a home health care company called A Plus Home Health Care Inc., the Justice Department announced. Under the settlements, Dr. Alan and Lynn Buhler will pay to the United States $1.047 million and Dr. Craig and Cynthia Prokos will pay $90,000. Dr. Buhler practices in Plantation, Florida, and Dr. Prokos practices in Jupiter, Florida.
The Department of Justice announced that an Illinois physician, Dr. Michael J. Reinstein, pleaded guilty to a federal crime for receiving illegal kickbacks and benefits totaling nearly $600,000 from two pharmaceutical companies in exchange for regularly prescribing an anti-psychotic drug — clozapine — to his patients. Reinstein also agreed to pay the United States and the state of Illinois $3.79 million to settle a parallel civil lawsuit alleging that, by prescribing clozapine in exchange for kickbacks, Reinstein caused the submission of false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for the clozapine he prescribed for thousands of elderly and indigent patients in at least 30 Chicago-area nursing homes and other facilities.
The Department of Justice announced that California-based C.R. Laurence Co. Inc., Florida-based Southeastern Aluminum Products Inc. and Texas-based Waterfall Group LLC have agreed to pay $2,300,000, $650,000 and $100,000, respectively, to resolve a lawsuit brought by the United States under the False Claims Act alleging that the companies engaged in schemes to evade customs duties on imports of aluminum extrusions from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The companies sell shower doors and shower enclosures made with the PRC-manufactured aluminum extrusions.
If you have knowledge of False Claims Act violations and would like to know how the National Whistleblower Legal Defense & Education Fund can help you file a claim, please contact us.