False Claims Act and Qui Tam Lawsuit Defense throughout Florida

In Florida, qui tam lawsuits often allege that you’ve violated the False Claims Act. The Oberheiden Law Group represents clients in Florida who are in need of qui tam defense, are being investigated by the federal government, or who need defense for other health care fraud allegations involving criminal charges. Additionally, we assist our clients by setting up compliance programs for federal regulations and in corporate structuring. This can minimize the likelihood of ever facing these allegations. Our defense team is led by a former Chief Health Care Fraud Coordinator from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Oberheiden lawyers have impressive educational backgrounds and many have extensive former experience as federal prosecutors and as senior trial attorneys. We serve clients in the entire State of Florida.

The Oberheiden Law Group is a leader in False Claims Act and qui tam defense. Our firm has significant legal experience in many areas including, but not limited to, regulatory compliance, corporate structuring, litigation, federal government investigations, and criminal defense. Our Health Care Fraud Defense Team includes a former Chief Health Care Fraud Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, several former health care fraud prosecutors, elite former lead prosecutors of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, and accomplished defense lawyers with the best education from the country’s best law schools, including Yale and Harvard. We provide False Claims Act and qui tam defense services to health care providers, entities, and businesses in the State of Florida.

Florida Providers and Entities Have an Increased Risk

It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, nurse, other health care provider, a facility, a clinic, a business, a physician-owned entity, or other health care organization in Florida – you face a higher than average risk of being investigated by the federal government for violating the False Claims Act. The State of Florida is one of nine areas in the United States with a large number of citizens who rely on a federal health care program. This causes more claims to be filed for reimbursement. The increase in claims causes the state to be closely monitored by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. This happens because the federal government believes that there are more violations of the False Claims Act when more claims are filed.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is an elite investigative team made up of investigators and prosecutors from various federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Inspector General, the DEA, the FBI, and the IRS. Other agencies can also be involved. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force monitors, investigates, and prosecutes False Claims Act violations. If you’re contacted about an investigation by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, call the Oberheiden Law Group right away to learn about your legal options. Initial consultations are free of charge and confidential.

Defining the False Claims Act

The False Claims Act is a federal law that is applied to any person, business, or organization with a direct or indirect contract with, and one that will receive payment by, the federal government for equipment or services. Any person, business, contractor, or organization that knowingly submits or causes the submission of a false claim for approval and payment by the federal government may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.

Under the False Claims Act, you do not need actual knowledge of the filing of a false claim. This federal law establishes civil and criminal liability because you should know whether or not the claims that are being filed on your behalf are accurate.

Medical coding provides an excellent example of how legal liability can affect you. Recently, ICD-10 was released. If you hire someone to handle your coding or if you outsource it, it is your obligation to ensure that the proper codes are being used. If an obsolete code is used, you may be held liable. It is your professional obligation to ensure that the proper codes are used on your federal claims.

Civil and Criminal Penalties

False Claims Act investigations can result in criminal or civil charges. If you’re notified of an investigation against you, call the Oberheiden Law Group, PLLC immediately. Once we are retained, we can help determine which charges you may be facing. Initial consultations are free and confidential.

Civil penalties are levied by the civil court. You may face one or more of the very serious civil penalties:

  • Treble damages (damages that are three times more than the amount that the claim is worth)
  • A fine of up to $11,000 per false claim
  • State disciplinary proceedings
  • Loss of your professional license
  • Loss of hospital privileges
  • You could be ordered to pay attorneys’ fees for the federal government

Criminal penalties are levied by the criminal court. You may face one or more of the following, if you are charged criminally:

  • Criminal indictment
  • Prison time
  • A fine of $250,000 per claim for individuals for federal felony convictions
  • A fine of $500,000 per claim for businesses for federal felony convictions
  • A fine of $100,000 per claim for individuals for a misdemeanor conviction
  • A fine of $200,000 per claim for businesses for a misdemeanor conviction

Qui Tam Lawsuits Filed in Florida

Many False Claims Act investigations that take place in Florida start because of a qui tam lawsuit filed against you or your business. Originally, these lawsuits were used as a legal tool by private citizens to help protect the federal government from being the victims of fraud. If a qui tam lawsuit is successful, the plaintiff receives a share of the recovered funds. Qui tam is a Latin phrase that means ‘he who sues for the king and himself.’ However, this whistleblowing tool is now abused by spiteful former employees and competitors who want to remove you and your business from the industry.

Qui tam lawsuits are filed and heard in federal court. Which federal court the case is filed in will depend on where your practice or business operates within the state. Qui tam lawsuits are sealed to protect the identity of the plaintiff (referred to in the proceedings as the ‘qui tam realtor’). Only the assigned judge and assigned federal officials receive unsealed copies of the documents. False Claims Act investigations can take a lot of time. The federal court will grant six month extensions to give the federal government enough time to finish their investigation.

From the very beginning of the investigation and qui tam lawsuit, your attorney can be in communication with the federal investigators and prosecutors to advocate on your behalf. This can help determine your exposure and may be able to help you resolve the investigation. The length of time it may take will determine how complex the case is.

An attorney can also assist you when you begin to receive subpoenas from the federal government regarding your communication, corporate, financial, and billing records. Subpoenas may be issued by the FBI, the IRS, OIG, DEA, DOJ, or other federal agencies. Once the federal government receives the documents, it will take the time to review them to determine whether it will support or decline to get involved in the qui tam lawsuit.

In cases where the federal government decides that it will not support the case, it isn’t necessarily over. The plaintiff can continue the case against you. If the plaintiff is successful, they are entitled to 30 percent of the recovered funds. The federal government must receive the permission of the Department of Justice to get involved. This is called government intervention. If it happens, you’re likely to face additional charges, such as violations of the Anti-Kickback Act, the Truth in Negotiation Act, or the Physician Self-Referral Law. If you lose the qui tam suit, the plaintiff will receive 25 percent of the recovered funds as a reward.

Established Defense Strategies for Florida Clients

The Oberheiden Law Group uses established defense strategies for our Florida clients. These strategies were developed using our combined experience as both former federal health care prosecutors and health care fraud defense attorneys.

Immediate contact with federal investigators. One of the most crucial legal advocacy methods that we use for our Florida clients is to immediately contact federal investigators right away. This has several advantages. First and most importantly, we are able to determine the charges that our Florida clients may be facing. This helps us choose the right defenses related to the allegations made against you. We are also able to reduce the likelihood of federal charges. When we contact the federal government, we are able to get answers to important questions such as why the investigation was opened, the exposure to our clients, and what mistakes are clients should correct in order to resolve the investigation. We are often able to get the answers to these questions within just a few hours of our engagement.

Crucial qui tam defenses. Most qui tam lawsuits filed in federal court in Florida aren’t filed because of actual fraud. They’re filed to punish health care providers and businesses. We aggressively defend our clients who are involved in qui tam lawsuits. We look to destroy the credibility of the case and the plaintiff. We closely analyze the facts and the evidence to prove to the federal government that the case has no merit, and the government should not provide its support.

Civil settlements. When civil liability is indicated by the federal government, we negotiate an amicable settlement. Our objective is to reduce the original amount to one that is more favorable for our clients. None of our clients have been forced to close down their business or stop practicing.

The Oberheiden Law Group Is Now Providing Legal Services in Florida

The Oberheiden Law Group provides legal advocacy for Florida doctors, nurses, clinic owners, physician-owned entities, toxicology labs, DME companies, pharmacies, service management organizations, marketing companies that work in health care, clinics, hospitals, and many other health care-related entities that are being investigated for False Claims Act violations. We also assist defendants in qui tam lawsuits, Stark Law violations, Anti-Kickback statute violations, Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and Department of Labor investigations.

Our Track Record

The attorneys of the Oberheiden Law Group, PLLC have successfully defended physicians, practice owners, physician owned entities, toxicology laboratories, device companies, pharmacies, service management organizations, health care marketing companies, hospitals, and many others in False Claims Act, qui tam lawsuits, Stark Law, Anti-Kickback, Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and DOL investigations.

  • False Claims Act Investigation (Pharmacy)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (Pharmacy)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (Laboratory Group)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (Laboratory Group)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (Laboratory Group)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (Physician)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (Physician)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (DME Company)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (MSO)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (MSO)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (Physician Syndication)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (Physician Syndication)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (Physician Syndication)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (Device Company)
    Result: No Liability.
  • False Claims Act Investigation (Health Care Service Provider)
    Result: No Liability.

Call the Oberheiden Law Group now and ask to speak with our Health Care Fraud Defense Team about your case. Initial consultations are confidential and free.

False Claims Act and Qui Tam Defense Lawyers Serving Florida Clients

Nick OberheidenDr. Nick Oberheiden has successfully represented health care executives, business owners, public officials, physicians, and lawyers in high profile prosecutions, during accusations of political corruption, government investigations, and directed media campaigns, including 60 Minutes. He is most known for stopping federal investigations before criminal charges can be filed. In addition to his health care defense practice, Dr. Oberheiden leads internal investigations, implements corporate compliance programs, and teaches U.S. criminal law and federal litigation in the United States and abroad.

Lynette ByrdLynette S. Byrd is a former Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA). Clients greatly benefit from Ms. Byrd’s experience from the Department of Justice, where she prosecuted health care fraud, Anti-Kickback violations, False Claims Act, and Stark violations on behalf of the United States. Ms. Byrd has immense experience with health care law enforcement, and she regularly argues federal matters for her clients.

We are available every day of the year. You can call us directly or complete our contact form or by emailing us directly.

888-997-2520
Including Weekends
Oberheiden Law Group, PLLC
Serving the State of Florida and Surrounding Areas
www.medicare-lawyer.com
This information has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information may constitute attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Reading of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee similar future outcomes. The Oberheiden Law Group PLLC is a Texas PLLC with headquarters in Dallas. Mr. Oberheiden limits his practice to federal law.