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Apr 16, 2022 by |

Los Angeles Whistleblower Attorney: Court Awards Whistleblower $390,000 In Illegal Health Care Kickback Case

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Case Against Electronic Health Record Vendor

Vendor Allegedly Paid Kickbacks For Client Referrals

Judge Awards $390,000 To Whistleblower

Under the Biden Administration, the federal government has accelerated fraud enforcement around the False Claims Act, (“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq. Enforcement is particularly focused on fraud in the health care sector, where private actions under the FCA called “qui tam actions” recover billions for the government every year.   Kickbacks for referrals to vendors of health records data has been a particularly successful front in the war on fraud. In the last year, three health records vendors have agreed to pay $155 million, $57.25 million and $3.8 million to settle three separate cases of illegal kickbacks by health records vendors.  The FCA authorizes substantial awards to the plaintiffs, known as qui tam relators (whistleblowers), for bringing and prosecuting these and other cases concerning fraud on the government. If you have been retaliated against by your employer in violation of the FCA in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669 and we can help. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Recent FCA Whistleblower Reward[1]

A judge recently awarded a whistleblower $390,000 as a reward in a qui tam against an electronic health care records (EHR) vendor accusing it of violating the False Claims Act and the federal anti-kickback statute.  Two months later, two more relators did the same.  The first complaint focused on allegations around the vendor’s client referral program and other “gratuities and incentives” – including tickets to sporting events, casino chips, hotel accommodations and more – to sweeten sales of its EHR product.  The government’s settlement agreement, reached this past January, allowed relators to seek “reasonable expenses,” costs and attorneys’ fees from the defendant in addition to their percentage of the claim payout.  

However, the FCA limits that entitlement to the first relator to file – meaning only the initial would get the funds. The Court therefore awarded the original relator a $390,000 award plus his attorneys’ fees and expenses; these amounts will be payable by defendant in addition to the $18.25 million it is paying the government to settle the allegations.

How A Qui Tam Action Begins

Individuals with original and credible information of false claims, like the employee in this case, begin FCA qui tam cases by filing a complaint under seal in the federal court. At the same time, the relator submits a disclosure to the DOJ outlining the material evidence the relator has of the alleged false claims. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b). The seal period of the complaint lasts 60 days during which the DOJ investigates the claims.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(2). (If necessary, the government can, and often does, extend the 60-day period during which the allegations are kept under seal.)  If the government decides to intervene in the case, the government essentially takes over the litigation. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(c)(1).   If the government declines to intervene, the relator may proceed with the litigation on his or her own.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(c)(3).

Contact Us

If you have credible information of government fraud in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, call Ingrid M. Evans at (415) 441-8669, or toll-free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267) or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>.  In addition to FCA and CFCA whistleblower cases, Ingrid and Evans Law Firm, Inc. also handle bank fraud whistleblower cases under FIRREA/FIAFEA, commodity trading and securities fraud under the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program and the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, and tax fraud under the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program. 

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.

 

 

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