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Archive for July, 2011

Trends in Qui Tam False Claims Cases: On the Incline

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

The number of Qui Tam false claims cases has grown by double digits each year, since amendments were made to the False Claims Act (FCA) in 1986. Approximately 7,200 Qui Tam cases have been filed since 1987, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The major trend, in addition to the increase in filings, is the greater amount of recoveries awarded. According to the DOJ fraud statistics, since 1987, more than $18 billion has been recovered through settlements or judgments in such cases. In 2010, health care accounted for two-thirds of all qui tam cases (which resulted in 83 percent of all funds recovered), while defense contracts accounted for just 10 percent, leaving 24 percent from other areas. The government plays a crucial role in a qui tam case and the DOJ’s intervention rate has remained fairly stable.

For more information see:  http://www.law360.com/articles/258434/print?section=governmentcontracts

False Claims Act Status Report: Qui Tam Cases and Recoveries are Growing at a Rapid Pace

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Between January 2009 and June 2011, the DOJ recovered more than $7.3 billion in civil settlements and judgments under the False Claims Act.  Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Tony West stated that the DOJ “has never been more aggressive—or more successful—in the anti-fraud battle as it has in the last two years.”  State recoveries are also reaching record-highs and looking to pass or amend aggressive false claims statutes patterned after the FCA.  Currently, more than 30 states have enacted some version of a false claims act.

For more information see:  http://www.gibsondunn.com/publications/Pages/2011Mid-YearFalseClaimsActUpdate.aspx

Home Depot Sued for False Claims in Violation of the Buy American Act

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Home Depot was sued for false claims for selling Chinese goods to the federal government in violation of the Buy American Act.  That act requires all materials used in construction of public projects to originate in the United States or “designated countries.”  GSA contracts with Home Depot authorize government agencies to purchase thousands of products from Home Depot’s designated website while many of the products on the website are actually manufactured in China and other non-designated countries.  The case recently survived Home Depot’s motion to dismiss. 

For more information, please go to the following link:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/26/home-depot-buy-american_n_884786.html

Former US Army Sergeant Pleads Guilty to Theft of Equipment in Iraq

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

A former US Army Sergeant pleaded guilty to theft of US government equipment during time he spent in Iraq training the Iraqi Army units.  Robert Ashley Nelson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to steal public property for his role in stealing eight generators from an Army base, which he then sold for approximately $44,830. 

For more information, please go to the following link:  http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/June/11-crm-848.html.

Fulbright Scholar Program Administrator gets “Detention” for False Claims Liability

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the filing and settlement of a false claims act lawsuit against the administrator of the US Department of State’s Fulbright Scholar’s program.  The US Attorney alleged that over an 8-year period, the administrator, the Institute of International Education (IIE) did not comply with grant requirements and repeatedly made false claims for payments by inflating its labor costs incurred.  The case was settled for a payment of $1 million.

Increase in Hospice Care results in Increasing Fraud and Abuse

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

The New York Times reports that hospice care is under the microscope for care and treatment that may not be necessary.  The amount of money spent on hospice care grew from $2.9 billion in 2000 to more than $12 billion in 2009.  The increase is attributable to Medicare regulations some years ago that demonstrated that allowed for hospice care as a cost-effective way of caring for individual near the end of life.  Once a patient is enrolled in hospice care, Medicare pays a flat fee for hospice care, depending on the level of service, regardless of whether a hospice actually provides services.  This rule had a perverse effect of encouraging hospices to find patients likely to live longer.  The system allows hospice care providers to beat the system and get reimbursed even if care is not provided.  The system has prompted the Center for Medicare Services to limit hospice care to 6 months unless a physician or nurse practitioner certifies that longer treatment is needed. 

 Hospice care abuses have resulted in a number of settlements of fraud charges that the government has prosecuted. 

For more information, please go to the following link:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/health/28hospice.html?_r=1

 

 
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