The FCA Insider

The FCA Insider

Insights and updates on False Claims Act Litigation

Category Archives: DOJ

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DOJ

Eye Care Practice Settles with Government for Employing Excluded Individual

On March 18, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Connecticut Attorney General announced that a Connecticut eye care practice and its owners had agreed to pay $192,699 to resolve allegations that the practice improperly employed an individual who was excluded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) from… Continue Reading
DOJ

Court Allows Superseding Indictment Twelve Days Before Trial, Failing to Find Prosecutorial Vindictiveness

In U.S. v. Georges, 2021 WL 3887183 (S.D. Oh. Aug. 30, 2021), a federal court recently dismissed a defendant’s motion to dismiss a superseding indictment, denying her claim of prosecutorial vindictiveness related to multiple alleged violations of the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute. The defendant, Nicole Georges, was a pharmaceutical representative who coordinated speaking arrangements with physicians… Continue Reading
DOJ

Gleanings From DOJ’s 2021 Healthcare Takedown Announcement

On Sept. 17, the U.S. Department of Justice released the results of its 2021 Healthcare Takedown — an annual announcement aggregating months of investigations and indictments across the country involving fraud in the healthcare and life sciences industries. Read on for details and analysis of criminal charges against 138 defendants, including 42 medical professionals, related… Continue Reading
DOJ, OIG, Regulatory

Increasing OIG and DOJ Telehealth Fraud Enforcement Likely on Horizon

Three McGuireWoods’ attorneys, partners Andrea Lee Linna and Michael Podberesky, and associate Amanda Ray, have co-authored an article on the likely forthcoming increase in OIG and DOJ telehealth fraud enforcement that was published in the July issue of Compliance Today.   The article examines recent enforcement actions against individuals alleged to have committed telehealth fraud as… Continue Reading
CMS Guidance, DOJ, FCA Defenses, FCA Litigation, Investigations, OIG, Regulatory, Settlements, Stark Law

2021’s First-Half Notable Themes on The FCA Insider

As vaccination rates rise, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reverberate through 2021. These reverberations also impacted the healthcare fraud and abuse landscape that is the basis of The FCA Insider’s coverage. To-date, 2021 has seen more than three dozen posts on topics ranging from False Claims Act (FCA) court opinions, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)… Continue Reading
DOJ

DOJ Announces Plan for Coordinated Civil Rights Response to COVID-19

On April 2, 2021, Pamela S. Karlan, the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (DOJ), issued a public statement regarding the Division’s intent to lead a coordinated civil rights response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The statement, which attached a resource guide, is intended… Continue Reading
DOJ, Investigations

COVID-19 Fraud Surge: Criminal Enforcement of Pandemic-Related Fraud Reaches “Unprecedented Pace,” DOJ Warns

While the spread of COVID-19 may finally be slowing, government enforcement of pandemic-related fraud is not. It is surging. And that may explain why you are hearing from the government more than usual, or will soon. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week that it has now charged nearly 500 defendants with crimes… Continue Reading
DOJ, FCA Defenses, Individual Liability

Eleventh Circuit Affirms 11-year Prison Sentence for Substance Abuse Treatment Center Physician

Last month, the Eleventh Circuit upheld the conviction and 11-year prison sentence of a physician-Medical Director of two substance abuse treatment centers in Florida who was convicted by a jury of participating in a conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud.  On appeal, Arman Abovyan, a board-certified internal medicine physician, challenged his convictions based on insufficiency of… Continue Reading
DOJ

DEA Investigation Leads to Record-Setting Settlement for Drug Diversion at a Health Care System

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced the nation’s largest settlement involving allegations of drug diversion at a health care system. The settlement, totaling $7,750,000, came after a years-long investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) into McLaren Health Care Corporation (MHCC).  The DEA concluded that MHCC’s handling of controlled substances violated… Continue Reading
DOJ, Investigations

First Provider Relief Fund Indictment

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced charges this month against a Michigan woman, Amina Abbas, for embezzling government property.  This indictment is the first in the nation related to the CARES Act public health and social services emergency fund (the Provider Relief Fund), which provides funds to support healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.… Continue Reading
DOJ, FCA Litigation, OIG

Eleventh Circuit Holds “Knowingly and Willfully” Does Not Require Motive for Kickback Recipient

A recent Eleventh Circuit opinion clarified the mens rea burden the Government must prove to establish criminal intent to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) for a recipient or payee of a kickback or bribe under 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(1), and affirmed a conviction against a healthcare provider.  The opinion in United States v. Alap Shah… Continue Reading
Defense Arguments, DOJ, Individual Liability, Investigations

Fifth Circuit Upholds Health Care Fraud Convictions for Home Health Agency Employees

The U.S. Fifth Circuit recently upheld convictions and sentences against five named defendants, each charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and several counts of substantive health care fraud.  In United States v. Barnes, No. 18-31074, 2020 WL 6304699 (5th Cir. Oct. 28, 2020), the Fifth… Continue Reading
DOJ

California Doctor Pleads Guilty to EKRA Violations

On September 15, 2020, Doctor Akikur R. Mohammad, a California resident and drug treatment facility owner, pled guilty before the U.S. District Court of New Jersey for violating the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (“EKRA”), one of the country’s first convictions under this statute targeting opioid kickbacks. Enforcement under EKRA can help shed light on… Continue Reading
DOJ

DOJ Puts Collection of Civil Penalties on Hold in Response to COVID-19

In a pair of recent memoranda from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (“EOUSA”) issued on March 31, 2020, and April 13, 2020, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has effectively halted enforcement actions and the collection of civil penalties.  Included in this temporary suspension is the collection of civil penalties incurred in… Continue Reading
DOJ, Regulatory

Federal Authorities Crack Down on Fraudulent COVID-19 Schemes

As the public faces the crisis related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), federal authorities announced initial actions against individuals and companies promoting fraudulent schemes and products to the public. Federal agencies suggest concerns that individuals and companies are targeting vulnerable consumers and seeking to profit from the confusion and widespread fear during the pandemic.… Continue Reading
DOJ

New DOJ Task Force to Target Substandard Nursing Home Care

In a March 3, 2020, speech by Attorney General Bill Barr, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a new nursing home enforcement initiative targeting “grossly-substandard” care of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in nursing homes nationwide. The DOJ, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will also seek to enhance enforcement of civil and… Continue Reading
DOJ, Settlements

DOJ announces $5.5 Million Settlement Concerning Allegations of Undisclosed Grants

On December 19, 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) has agreed to pay $5.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting grant applications to the National Institute of Health (NIH) without disclosing Chinese government grants for involved researchers. VARI is an independent… Continue Reading
DOJ

DOJ Releases FY 2019 False Claims Act Statistics with Numbers that Highlight the Focus on the Healthcare Industry

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Public Affairs recently released a report detailing the settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and abuse claims obtained in fiscal year 2019.  In total, the DOJ reports that it obtained more than $3 billion during FY 2019, the substantial majority of which ($2.6 billion) involved… Continue Reading
DOJ, Individual Liability, Settlements

DOJ Settlement Resolves Allegations of Individual Liability

On October 4, 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced a settlement in which the Retina Institute of California Medical Group, its former CEO, and several of its physicians paid the United States and California approximately $6.65 Million to settle False Claims Act allegations.  The settlement related to accusations of… Continue Reading
DOJ

DOJ Offers Further Guidance on False Claims Act Prosecutions

At a conference earlier this year, Deputy Associate General Stephen Cox offered further guidance on a number of topics central to the DOJ’s enforcement attitude in FCA actions over the past several years. Cox’s comments help provide further clarity and color to several recent memorandums authored by the DOJ and provide guidance on the DOJ’s… Continue Reading

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