Brown, LLC Announces $22.9 Million False Claims Act Whistleblower Settlement
Whistleblower law firm Brown, LLC announced today a $22.9 million False Claims Act Settlement. According to Pat Almonrode, who chairs the firm’s qui tam unit, “The case is a reaffirmation that enforcement of the prohibition against kickbacks under the False Claims Act is alive and well.”
The case is captioned United States ex rels. Duffield et al.and Harris v. CHC Holdings, LLC, et al., No. CIV-17-826-HE (W.D. Okla.). The whistleblowers alleged that Carter Healthcare, a home-health agency and in-home hospice care provider operating in Oklahoma and seven other states, paid doctors to serve as sham “medical directors” to induce the doctors to refer their Medicare and TRICARE patients. Carter allegedly kept the “medical directors” onboard with various gifts and other perks (meals, OSU football tickets, etc). Such remuneration-for-referrals schemes are illegal under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the federal False Claims Act. The settlement resolves these allegations, for which it’s important to note that defendants admit no liability.
The case was brought by two former Carter employees, who will receive substantial whistleblower awards. Former FBI Special Agent Jason T. Brown, who is the head of the firm noted, “This settlement will return a significant amount of taxpayer money to the taxpayers. We applaud our clients’ courage and persistence in stepping forward to bring this case, and we’re proud to work with such public-minded citizens who have the desire to do what’s right.”
Ever since the enactment of the False Claims Act, almost every year billions of dollars have been recovered on behalf of the taxpayers and hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to whistleblowers. With the ever-increasing budget of the federal government coupled with the inability of the government to monitor the spiraling spending, now, more than ever, the system depends on insiders who know about systemic fraud against the government to disclose the fraud and in cases like this receive up to 30% of what the government recovers as a False Claims Act whistleblower award. The public is encouraged to report fraud promptly and avail itself of opportunities to have a free, confidential consultation with storied whistleblower firms like Brown, LLC to understand the proper way to blow the whistle.