Whistleblowers Make Millions in Federal Judgements With Qui Tam Cases

Whistleblower cases are civil lawsuits brought to collect money that has been fraudulently billed to the United States for excessive billing for . . . • Medicare • Medicaid • Defense contractors • Housing subsidies • Environmental cleanup • And many other types of financial abuse of taxpayers’ money Whistleblower cases, also known as Qui Tam cases, fall under the False Claims Act; they begin when a person has learned that a fraud has been committed against the United States and decides to “blow the whistle” on its perpetrators. Qui Tam cases are commonly resolved by settlement without the need to go to trial. A whistleblower case typically settles, with the wrongdoers having to pay up to three times the amount of money they have stolen from the government. Whistleblowers are entitled to receive a percentage of the recovered money as a reward for turning in wrongdoers; depending on the size of the recovery, the reward is often millions of dollars. FIRST STEP IN A WHISTLEBLOWER CASE: HIRE A LAWYER Calling an experienced whistleblower lawyer is the first and most important step anyone can take after uncovering a fraud against the government. Whistleblower cases are extremely complex, with nuances that can make or break a successful case. Since not all lawyers have experience in this area of the law, it is important to spend considerable time finding a lawyer who has both the experience and track record in successfully prosecuting these types of cases. SECOND STEP: FILE THE LAWSUIT UNDER SEAL Once the appropriate information is obtained, a lawsuit is filed secretly in Federal Court “under seal,” meaning that...

Selecting Expert Witness in Personal Injury Cases

EXPERT WITNESSES Effective use of an expert witness in personal injury cases can make the difference between winning and losing. In some cases, like medical malpractice, expert witnesses’ opinions are required even before a lawsuit can be filed. I have found the selecting of appropriate experts to be vitally important. Many lawyers, depending on the area of law they practice, maintain a book or bank of experts they call upon with regularity.  For instance, an auto insurance defense firm or a cruise line may use the same three or four experts in different cases several times a week.  It is not unusual, for instance, to see a neurologist or an orthopedic surgeon hired by a defense firm or cruise line spending more time and making more money testifying than actually seeing and treating patients. While this may also be true of the plaintiff’s practice, I can only base my experience on what I have seen and heard. I personally try to utilize different doctors or experts as often as I can, so as to deflate the defense’s potential arguments of bias or prejudice. The benefit of using tried and true experts versus the risk of the unknown is difficult for any lawyer to weigh. Therefore, thoughtful selection of experts is important in maximizing your client’s potential for success both in and out of the courtroom. Perhaps the most valuable trait I look for when selecting an expert is his or her ability to articulate opinions in a manner that is believable, likable, modest, and honest. In nearly 25 years of litigating cases across the United States, I think I...

Miami Whistleblower Cases: Defrauding the Government

The Department of Justice had a record breaking year in recovering nearly $6 Billion dollars in money that was obtained by individuals and corporations who were defrauding the government. 2015 has started out with sentencing of three Miami, Florida residents who ran a fraudulent tax refund scheme. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Wifredo Ferrer announced on Friday that his team coordinated efforts with both the Justice Department’s Tax Division and the IRS Criminal Investigation offices in Miami to arrest and convict Sean Anthony Lopez, Claudia Zuloaga and Sharon Elizabeth Angulo. Mr. Lopez, of Miami submitted false personal federal income tax returns claiming $625, 320 in fraudulent refunds.  He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to repay the U.S. Treasury nearly $700,000. The co-defendants Ms. Zuloaga and Ms. Angulo, also both of Miami owned and operated the Sterling Executive Associates, Inc and Sterling Executive, two  South Miami-Dade County tax preparation businesses. The two were convicted of preparing and assisting Mr. Lopez in filing his false tax returns as well as numerous others between 2008 and 2010.  They would submit the false returns in exchange for 30% of the anticipated of the fraudulently obtained refunds. they were responsible for claiming $5.4 million in fraudulent refunds, which resulted in $2.3 million in false refund checks.. Both were sentenced to 5 years in Federal Prison and ordered to pay over $1.5 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury.   We commend U.S. Attorney Ferrer and his team of special agents, investigators and trial lawyers who prosecuted the case. Whistleblower Rewards Cases like this fall under the qui tam...

What Are Whistleblower Cases?

Whistleblower cases are civil lawsuits brought to collect money that has been fraudulently billed to the United States for excessive billing for . . . Medicare Medicaid Defense contractors Housing subsidies Environmental cleanup And many other types of financial abuse of taxpayers’ money Whistleblower cases, also known as Qui Tam cases, fall under the False Claims Act; they begin when a person has learned that a fraud has been committed against the United States and decides to “blow the whistle” on its perpetrators. Qui Tam cases are commonly resolved by settlement without the need to go to trial. A whistleblower case typically settles, with the wrongdoers having to pay up to three times the amount of money they have stolen from the government. Whistleblowers are entitled to receive a percentage of the recovered money as a reward for turning in wrongdoers; depending on the size of the recovery, the reward is often millions of dollars. FIRST STEP IN A WHISTLEBLOWER CASE: HIRE A LAWYER Calling an experienced lawyer is the first and most important step anyone can take after uncovering a fraud against the government. Whistleblower cases are extremely complex, with nuances that can make or break a successful case. Since not all lawyers have experience in this area of the law, it is important to spend considerable time finding a lawyer who has both the experience and track record in successfully prosecuting these types of cases. SECOND STEP: FILE THE LAWSUIT UNDER SEAL Once the appropriate information is obtained, a lawsuit is filed secretly in Federal Court “under seal,” meaning that only the Justice Department and its lawyers...

Medtronic False Claims Settlement: $23.5 Million

Medtronic, the medical device manufacturer of pacemaker, defibrillators and the artificial bone growth product known as Infuse settled claims filed against it under the False Claims Act brought by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for $23.5 million. The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733 was enacted in 1863 by a Congress over concerns that suppliers of goods to the Union Army during the Civil War were defrauding the Army. This law was passed during the Lincoln administration and is sometimes referred to as the “Lincoln Law.” Para leer en español haga clic aquí. The specific allegations made by the DOJ against Medtronic were that it illegally paid doctors kickbacks to select its products rather than the competitor’s. In addition, the DOJ asserted that Medtronic also falsified Medicare and Medicaid claims by using post-market studies as well as two separate device registries as a way to part illegal kickbacks directly to doctors to implant Medtronic devices. http://youtu.be/KUWtliIU6V0 Post-market studies are supposed to be used to assess the safety and effectiveness of medical devices and drugs after receiving FDA approval; and device registries are internal data collection efforts maintained by manufacturers once their devices have been sold and implanted in patients. The investigation performed by the combined efforts of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and FBI found that Medtronic in an effort to induce doctors to use their implants and then report the findings to its data registry, paid...
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