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Arizona’s Serenity Hospice and Palliative Care Settles Fraud Allegations for $2.2 Million

In a case within the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, a palliative care provider has agreed to pay $2.2 million to resolve allegations it unlawfully billed for non-terminal patients. | Image Source: Flickr User julep67

In a case within the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, a palliative care provider has agreed to pay $2.2 million to resolve allegations it unlawfully billed for non-terminal patients. | Image Source: Flickr User julep67

Under federal regulations, government healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid are only available to cover end-of-life services once a patient has reached a terminal point in their illness or injury. Unlike curative care, palliative care is only designed to make a patient more comfortable. Program regulations state that curative methods should not be used for patients receiving hospice services.

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AseraCare Loses First Round of Contentious False Claims Act Trial

Ideally, False Claims Act lawsuits are resolved via a negotiated settlement between the whistleblower, the defendant, and the government. However, if a settlement agreement cannot be reached, the parties must press on toward a trial – an option that sets up both sides for a greater amount of unpredictability and risk.

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Nurses’ Registry Agrees to Pay $16 Million to Settle Medicare Fraud Allegations

A Medicare fraud case, which recently settled in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, involved significant and extensive allegations of Medicare fraud for home health services. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

A Medicare fraud case, which recently settled in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, involved significant and extensive allegations of Medicare fraud for home health services. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

A Kentucky-based company known as Nurses’ Registry and Home Health Corp. has agreed to pay $16 million to settle False Claims Act allegations that it defrauded the Medicare program. The case was originally filed by two whistleblowers – former employees of the company – who suspected it was exaggerating the home healthcare needs of the patients.

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Millennium Health Agrees to Staggering $256 Million Healthcare Fraud Settlement

The nation’s leading urine drug testing company has agreed to pay $256 million amid allegations it defrauded the government by over-ordering unnecessary urinalysis screens. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The nation’s leading urine drug testing company has agreed to pay $256 million amid allegations it defrauded the government by over-ordering unnecessary urinalysis screens.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In one of the larger healthcare fraud settlements this fiscal year, Millennium Health, LLC has agreed to pay $256 million to settle allegations it engaged in fraudulent and illegal activity with regard to urine drug screens and orders for urinalysis.

The case got its start thanks to a lawsuit filed by several whistleblowers under the False Claims Act. In return for their efforts, the whistleblowers are expected to share a $30.35 million payout under the FCA’s qui tam provisions.

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Estate of Deceased CEO Settles False Claims Act Lawsuit Over Misuse of Federal TARP Funds

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas recently settled a matter involving the alleged misuse of federal TARP funds by the now-deceased owner and president of One Bank & Trust, N.A. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas recently settled a matter involving the alleged misuse of federal TARP funds by the now-deceased owner and president of One Bank & Trust, N.A. | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Arkansas-based One Bank & Trust, N.A. recently settled allegations against it for $4 million as the result of an ongoing fraud investigation surrounding misused government funds. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint stating that One Bank & Trust, under the direction of its late CEO Layton P. Stuart, unlawfully appropriated TARP funds. The complaint further accused Stuart, who passed away in March of this year, of diverting more than $2 million for his private use.

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Boeing Agrees to Pay $18 Million in Response to Allegations of Defense Fraud

Boeing defense fraud allegations settlement

The Boeing Company has agreed to pay $18 million to settle allegations that it submitted inflated invoices for labor.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

One of the founding goals of the False Claims Act was to root out fraud among Civil War-era defense contractors. The False Claims Act was first proposed over 150 years ago to help military leaders navigate questionable weapon contracts, but fraudulent defense claims still pose a problem today. The fraud that plagued Civil War contractors in the nineteenth century continues on an even broader scale, leaving government agencies scrambling to respond.

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Fifth Third Bank Agrees to Settle Extensive Mortgage Fraud Allegations

The U.S. Attorney’s Office recently announced an $85 million settlement with Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Bancorp over allegations of mortgage fraud. Image Source: Flickr CC user frankieleon

The U.S. Attorney’s Office recently announced an $85 million settlement with Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Bancorp over allegations of mortgage fraud.
Image Source: Flickr CC user frankieleon

In another case involving costly mortgage fraud, Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp recently settled False Claims Act allegations for $85 million.1 In a press release published by the Department of Justice, prolific U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced that the bank had unlawfully certified as many as 1,400 residential home loans as eligible for mortgage insurance through the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) when, in fact, the home loans and borrowers did not meet lending criteria for an FHA insured loan. When a large majority of these loans defaulted, the government was left with millions of dollars in mortgage insurance payouts to cover, which in turn triggered an investigation and eventual liability under the False Claims Act.

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  1.  United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York. “Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces $85 Million Settlement With Fifth Third Bancorp Over Failures To Self-Report Defective Mortgage Loans To FHA.” Justice.gov. http://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/manhattan-us-attorney-announces-85-million-settlement-fifth-third-bancorp-over-failures (Retrieved October 13, 2015).

Cincinnati’s West Chester Hospital to Pay $1.4 Million to Settle Healthcare Fraud Allegations

healthcare fraud

West Chester Hospital – part of the UC Health system – has agreed to settle allegations that it imposed medically unnecessary spinal surgeries on unsuspecting patients.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to reporting healthcare fraud, the stakes can be high. In milder cases, defendants may be engaged in fraudulent billing or upcoding to pad profits and increase revenues. However, in more dire cases, defendants have been known to order medically unnecessary procedures for the sole purpose of billing Medicare and Medicaid for the costs of these services – all at the risk of patient safety and care.

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Berger & Montague, P.C. Help Whistleblower Avoid Wrongful Dismissal Over Amended Complaint

In an ongoing whistleblower lawsuit against Covidien and several other companies, the First Circuit recently ruled in favor of the relator seeking to amend his complaint.
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In yesterday’s post, we discussed various issues that can arise at the pleadings stage of a False Claims Act lawsuit. To correct any perceived deficiencies, relators may ask to submit an amended complaint to include additional information, add or delete certain defendants, or fix errors concerning formatting or filing requirements.

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Pleadings and Amendments: Where Whistleblower Cases Hit Bumps in the Procedural Process

he First Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of a whistleblower case represented by Berger & Montague, P.C., holding that the relator should not have been penalized for seeking to amend his complaint.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The procedural process involved in a whistleblower lawsuit can be confounding at best, fatal at worst. Fortunately, with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced False Claims Act attorney, cases like the recent D’Agostino v. ev3 Inc. need not crash to a halt over a procedural obstacle. Berger & Montague, P.C. is proud to have successfully advocated for this whistleblower case, giving relator Jeffrey D’Agostino the opportunity to amend the language of the complaint and ultimately continue toward a possible qui tam reward.1

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  1.  Wiessner, Daniel. “Whistleblower Didn’t Need ‘Good Cause’ to Amend Suit – 1st Circuit.” Reuters. October 1, 2015. Accessed October 7, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/01/employment-whistleblower-idUSL1N1210HN20151001.