Experienced Government Fraud Lawyer – False Claims Act Cases & Our Success
Fraud against the government it wrong. Not only does it hurt all of us in the form of higher taxes and wasted taxpayer money, it also hurts the very fabric of our nation and economy.
Law-abiding citizens are hurt in the form of higher insurance in healthcare and Medicare fraud. Honest companies must compete against companies that rig bids or falsify customs documents. Employees of honest companies are also hurt, as they may lose their job when their employer cannot get a government contract.
As an experienced government fraud lawyer, I and my firm are dedicated to helping whistleblowers expose government fraud, and seeking for them the full compensation that may be available for reporting such fraud. Under regulations such as the federal False Claims Act, those reporting fraud may be eligible to receive from 15-30% of the total money recovered by the government. Other federal and state programs also have similar incentives for reporting fraud.
If you are looking for an experienced government fraud lawyer, you should know that I and my firm have had significant success in representing whistleblowers. The following is a representative sample of cases that I have handled.
If you are aware of fraud against the government or of corporate wrongdoing, I would invite you to call me for a free consultation to learn how I can help, and to get your questions answered.
Rural Health Care Program Fraud
In United States ex rel. Taylor v. GCI Liberty, et al., GCI Communications Corp. (GCI), based in Anchorage, Alaska, agreed to pay $40,242,546 to resolve allegations of False Claims Act violations.
Relator alleged that from 2013 to 2020, GCI knowingly inflated prices and breached FCC competitive bidding rules. CGI participated in the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program, which annually dispenses over $570 million to rural healthcare providers for telecommunications services, subsidizing GCI heavily in order to connect rural healthcare to the internet. Specifically, the FCC subsidizes the entire cost difference between rural and urban areas for the same services. Relator alleged that GCI failed to follow FCC regulations for pricing, leading to excessive subsidy payments. In addition, GCI was alleged to have enticed the Eastern Aleutian Tribes Inc., a rural Alaskan healthcare provider, to consent to overstated prices outside of the competitive bidding process, resulting in higher payments from 2015 to 2018.
Result – As part of the resolution, GCI will enter into a corporate compliance agreement with the FCC, resolve an FCC administrative investigation, and conclude an FCC proceeding related to their participation in the program. The civil settlement also resolves claims filed under the whistleblower (qui tam) provisions of the False Claims Act by our client, Robert Taylor, GCI’s former Director of Business Administration. Taylor received $6.4 million from the settlement. We did not allege a wrongful termination claim as a strategic choice.
Read more about the settlement here.
Student Loan Fraud
In US ex Rel Nicol v. Divers Institute of Technology, 1998, a former director of student aid reported fraud to the Department of Education through a False Claims Act (Qui Tam) lawsuit. As the associate responsible for the claim, Teller filed the action, created the disclosure statement, and pursued the case towards the DOJ’s intervention and settlement. The school had stolen $805,000 in student loans and grant funds from the Department of Education over a period of years by falsifying student income data, and was forced to pay back triple damages because of the intentional nature of the fraud.
Result – The whistleblower received approximately $400,000 and was in a good position to seek further recovery for a wrongful termination claim after being forced to quit when he refused to pursue the fraud.
In US ex Rel [confidential] v. [name withheld], 2005, a healthcare provider opposed fraudulent billing by his employer for “upcoding” under the “incident to” Medicare billing rules and was wrongfully terminated from employment. Teller warned the employer through a “demand” letter that the action would be pursued, but the employer was unwilling to enter into early settlement discussions and the Qui Tam lawsuit was filed.
Result – The government forced a settlement of $478,000 in restitution, of which 20% went to the whistleblower. In addition, the wrongful discharge claim was resolved for another confidential six figure sum which went to the whistleblower directly.
Government Procurement Fraud
In US ex Rel Willson v. Alcatel-Lucent, 2012, a contracting manager working on a US Army project to build a first responder network in Iraq opposed fraud and was “laid off.” The relator had opposed waste and fraud, and the failure to perform testing which was required to be done before network was turned over the the Iraqi government.
Result – After his termination, he hired our firm to file a Qui Tam action under the False Claims Act, leading to the recovery of $4.2 million from Alcatel-Lucent with a share of $758,000 to Mr. Willson. We then negotiated an additional confidential sum as part of the wrongful termination claim.
Mortgage Quality Certification Fraud
In US ex Rel Nguyen v. Lennar Corporation, 2018, Universal American Mortgage Company, LLC, and Eagle Home Mortgage of California, Inc., paid $13.2 million to settle claims of fraud against the Federal Housing Administration. Teller and co-counsel represented the relator after she was terminated from her quality assurance position at the mortgage lender because of her refusal to participate in fraud. The mortgage company was falsely certifying that borrowers met the standards for government backing of their loans under the Direct Endorsement Lender housing insurance program.
Result – The whistleblower received $1,980,000 as the reward, and another smaller sum for the wrongful termination claim.
Off-Label Medical Device and Off Label Pharmaceutical Sales and Promotion Fraud
In [name withheld] v. DUSA Pharmaceuticals, 2020, Teller helped a former sales representative file a Qui Tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act after his termination from employment. The company had been using a variety of schemes to convince doctors to use a less effective method for treating pre-cancerous skin conditions and thereby sell more product.
Result – The government proved that Medicare paid substantially more to the company for its products than it should have paid, and DUSA repaid the government over $20 million in settlement. The relator received approximately $3.4 million as his share of the recovery.