News & Cases


DOJ Set to Crack Down on Wave of Post-Hurricane Fraud

DOJ Set to Crack Down on Wave of Post-Hurricane Fraud

In the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria, the Justice Department is bracing itself for a flood of disaster fraud cases.

In order to coordinate efforts to deal with this type of fraud allegations, the Department of Justice has issued a memo to every US Attorney’s Office, offering specific guidelines to enhance their fraud-fighting efforts.

“Fraud inevitably follows disasters,” criminal justice columnist Tom Jackman said in a recent Washington Post article. Post-disaster scams have multiplied after each natural catastrophe in the US. Katrina has been a notable example. In the aftermath of the hurricane that hit New Orleans in 2005, there were 1,400 federal prosecutions for fraud committed in connection with relief efforts.

In fact, the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) was created in response to the superabundance of Katrina-related fraud allegations. Only a few days after the last of a wave of hurricanes hit several US states, the Center has already received over 400 complaints....


$2 Million Federal Engineers & Constructors Settlement on Whistleblower Exposed Alleged Scam

$2 Million Federal Engineers & Constructors Settlement on Whistleblower Exposed Alleged Scam

Energy Department subcontractor Federal Engineers & Constructors (FE&C) has just reached a $2 million settlement with the Department of Justice, which resolves a whistleblower’s allegations that it created a shell company to secure a contract for work at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation that should have gone to a small or disadvantaged contractor.  

FE&C worked under Washington Closure Hanford (WCH), which had received a multibillion-dollar nuclear waste cleanup contract at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. As per the terms of the contract, WCH was required to secure the services of women-owned, small, or disadvantaged businesses to complete a portion of the tasks involved.

According to allegations, FE&C awarded a $2 million contract to Sage Tec, a company run by Laura Shikashio, the wife of the  company’s former vice president....


Final: Judge Triples Damages against Allied Home Mortgage to $268M

Final: Judge Triples Damages against Allied Home Mortgage to $268M

Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corporation has lost a decade-long battle in a verdict that tripled damages from $93 million to $268 million on September 14. United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Joon H. Kim, announced an additional judgement of $25 million against Allied Capital President and CEO, Jim Hodge, for False Claims Act and FIRREA violations involving the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance program.

Branch Manager Peter Belli Claims Allied Falsely Certified FHA-Insurance Loans

Tuesday’s verdict against Allied Capital started in 2011, when former Allied branch manager, Peter Belli, filed a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit against Allied and CEO Jim Hodge claiming the company was certifying high-risk loans as eligible for FHA insurance. Belli’s case was one of just two major post mortgage meltdown cases that went to trial (the other being a Manhattan case against Countrywide)....


Sightpath and Its CEO Will Pay $12 Million to Resolve Kickback Allegations Involving Ophthalmological Services and Products

Sightpath and Its CEO Will Pay $12 Million to Resolve Kickback Allegations Involving Ophthalmological Services and Products

Minnesota-headquartered Sightpath Medical, Inc. and a subsidiary will pay $12 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations raised in a lawsuit filed by whistleblower Kipp Fesenmaier.

The complaint stated that Sightpath and Precision Lens, a company that was targeted by another lawsuit, offered kickbacks to physicians in exchange for their use of their products and services, which include intraocular lenses, ophthalmic surgical equipment, and related services to hospitals. Some of the services and products in question were reimbursed by Medicare and other federal programs.

The alleged kickbacks paid to numerous ophthalmologists included luxury skiing, golfing, and fishing trips, improper consulting agreements. Sightpath, Precision Lens, and some of their executives allegedly used these enticements to induce physicians to use their products and services, which ultimately resulted in the submission of false claims to government programs.

The kickback scheme was exposed at length in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Kipp Fesenmaier, a former Sightpath executive, in 2013. Fesenmaier, who is now Senior Director of Global Business Solutions at the Mayo Clinic, started working at Sightpath as National Manager in 1994. His last position with the company was VP-GM of Diagnostics, which lasted from January 2006 till December, 2007....


Shipbuilding Defense Contractor Will Pay $9.2 Million to Resolve Allegations of Overbilling

Shipbuilding Defense Contractor Will Pay $9.2 Million to Resolve Allegations of Overbilling

Virginia-based Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. (HII), the only U.S. defense contractor capable of building nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, will pay $7.9 million to complete a $9.2 million settlement that resolves False Claims Act allegations that it overbilled the government for work on both Navy and Coast Guard ships.
According to the allegations first brought forward by whistleblower Byran Faulkner, Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. has been mischarging and overbilling the...

Florida Rehab Program Operator Arrested Over $58.2 Million in Fraudulent Billings

Florida rehab facility owner Eric Snyder has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. According to allegations first raised in a whistleblower lawsuit, Snyder fraudulently billed several insurance companies by $58.2 million.

Snyder’s accomplice Christopher Fuller, also charged with similar violations, used to recruit drug addicts at AA meetings and crack addict hangouts.

Allegedly, Snyder would later bill insurance companies for treatments and tests for the recruited patients. In order to get them to participate in the scheme, Snyder routinely offered kickbacks in the shape of plane tickets, strip club visits, and cash. 

Snyder had first come to Florida in 2009 as a recovering addict himself. After he started his outpatient treatment program, Real Life Recovery, his Facebook postings went from inspirational 12-step program quotes to depictions of a luxurious lifestyle.

Fuller, on the other hand, had been arrested 19 times prior to his involvement with Snyder....


Government Employee Receives $2.5 Million Whistleblower Award from SEC

Government Employee Receives $2.5 Million Whistleblower Award from SEC

The SEC recently announced it has awarded $2.5 million to a whistleblower who is also a government employee. This is the first time the SEC has publicized giving an award to an employee of a government agency.

As it is customary with the SEC, the identity of the whistleblower remains anonymous, and specific details about the wrongdoing have not been revealed. The novelty here is the fact that a government employee has been considered eligible for an award.

On paper, government agency employees can receive whistleblower awards as long as they are not employees of a law enforcement organization, the SEC itself, or a number of regulatory agencies, which include the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Although we have very little information about who the whistleblower is, the SEC revealed that he or she worked for a government agency that has a law enforcement component, but not in that specific section....


ADS to Pay $16M on Whistleblower Allegations of Defense Contract Fraud

ADS Inc., a Virginia-based company that supplies equipment and logistics for the U.S. military´s search-and-rescue operations, has agreed to pay $16 million to resolve allegations that it fraudulently secured government contracts. 

ADS obtained numerous contracts that were set aside for small businesses, in spite of the fact that the company made $1 billion from federal contracts alone in 2016, which hardly qualifies for the “small business” category.  

ADS Scheme Exposed – Manufactured Front Companies

According to the Justice Department, ADS created a network of smaller companies in order to access contracts through federal programs meant to help small businesses secure them....


Celgene Reaches $280 Million Settlement in Whistleblower Lawsuit Over Off-Label Marketing of Cancer Drugs

Celgene Reaches $280 Million Settlement in Whistleblower Lawsuit Over Off-Label Marketing of Cancer Drugs

New Jersey-headquartered Celgene Corporation will pay $280 million to settle claims that it cited non-FDA approved uses in its promotion of cancer treatment drugs Thalomid and Revlimid. The biotech giant decided to settle after a judge ruled last December that the case was fit to proceed to trial.

Judge George H. King believed the plaintiff had provided sufficient evidence that Celgene was promoting the drugs for uses the Food and Drug Administration had approved neither Thalomid nor Revlimid for.

As a consequence, the government ended up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for “off-label” prescriptions. 

Not Just Off-Label Marketing but Kickbacks Too?

Both Thalomid and Revlimid are approved for use in cases of myeloma, but Celgene’s promotion went far beyond that in its claims of the drugs’ benefits for cancer patients. Celgene not only pitched the drugs to physicians making claims about off-label uses, but it also allegedly paid kickbacks to ensure the drugs would be abundantly prescribed....


Linde's Lincare Will Pay $20 Million to Settle Fraudulent Billing Allegations. Whistleblowers Receive $11 Million

Linde's Lincare Will Pay $20 Million to Settle Fraudulent Billing Allegations. Whistleblowers Receive $11 Million

Linde AG-owned Lincare, one of the largest respiratory therapy service providers in the US, will pay $20 million to resolve allegations that it fraudulently billed the government for oxygen and respiratory equipment.

The settlement resolves a whistleblower lawsuit filed by four former employees of the company. Originally filed in 2009 and 2010 as two separate suits by two pairs of Lincare insiders, the filings were consolidated into one in March 2014.

According to the text of the consolidated and amended lawsuit, “Lincare falsely and fraudulently billed the government for services and equipment that were non-reimbursable, were not medically necessary, were never provided, or were provided in direct violation of the applicable standards and regulations governing Lincare’s provision of oxygen equipment and services. As a result of these knowingly false and fraudulent claims, Lincare received payments from the United States of America that were inflated, excessive, unearned, and improper.”...