Louisiana Office
9655 Perkins Rd, Suite C-203
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
(Meeting location by appointment only)

Louisiana medical professionals and businesses face a grave risk to their ultimate success: Allegations of violating the False Claims Act. Doctors, nurses, pharmacies, and other health care related businesses are all at risk. The Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP works on behalf of medical professionals and businesses in Louisiana to resolve these allegations using a strategic and custom defense. These violations can cause you to face both civil and criminal punishments. If you’re being investigated by the federal government for violating the False Claims Act, call Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP right away. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our experienced defense lawyers can help you get the answers that you need and help you avoid criminal charges.

False Claims Act Investigations in Louisiana

Louisiana is one of nine areas in the United States that the federal government believes has a higher risk of medical fraud and False Claims Act violations. Because of this, the federal government uses two special task forces in the area: The Medicare Fraud Strike Force and Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT). These two investigative bodies are made up of prosecutors and investigators from several federal agencies. These agencies include the FBI, IRS, Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Justice (DOJ), and other agencies.

What You Should Know About the False Claims Act

The False Claims Act is a federal law. It brings accountability to people or businesses that have direct or indirect contact with, and who receive payment from, the federal government. It can be Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, or any federal health program that reimburses health care providers and facilities. If a person, organization, business, or government contractor knowingly submits or is the cause of the submission of a fraudulent or fictitious claim to the government for payment, they can be held legally liable.

‘Knowingly’ is an important word. In the legal context, it means that you knew or you should have known that what was happening would be a violation of the False Claims Act. For example, the ICD-10 was recently released. Many codes were either updated or outright changed. If you or someone from your office used an obsolete or incorrect code, that could be considered a violation. This is because as a professional, it is expected that you know and that you should know about these changes. It’s a matter of due diligence research.

Civil and Criminal Liability Is Possible

In Louisiana, the majority of violations aren’t caused by criminals. There’s usually no criminal intent involved. The violations are often caused just by someone making an honest mistake. However, even when it is only a mistake and not a criminal occurrence, you may still be held both civilly and criminally liable. From the outset of the investigation, it may be unclear to you whether you’re facing civil or criminal charges. Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP can contact the federal task force on your behalf and get the answers that you need.

Civil and criminal liability are two separate issues. In civil court, you could be forced to pay treble damages. This means that you would pay the government three times the total of the fraudulent claims. You could also be ordered to pay fines up to $11,000 per false claim.

Criminal liability may result in a prison sentence of five years. You could also face expensive fines. Misdemeanors can carry charges of up to $100,000 per claim for an individual and up to $200,000 per claim for businesses. Felonies can leave you with charges of up to $250,000 per claim for individuals and up to $500,000 per claim for companies. In addition to facing fines and a prison sentence, you could also be stripped of your professional license.

Louisiana Qui Tam Lawsuits

Despite Louisiana being deemed one of nine nation medical fraud hotspots, these investigations don’t usually happen simply because the federal government randomly chooses a professional or a facility. What causes many False Claims Act investigations in Louisiana is when a former employee or a competitor chooses to file a qui tam lawsuit in the federal district court.

Qui tam is a Latin phrase meaning “he who sues for the king and himself.” King refers to the federal government. This type of suit was originally designed to help the federal government recover money that it paid on false claims. Private citizens who initiate the suits and win are eligible to receive either 25 or 30 percent of the recovered funds. Qui tam suits are often abused by former employees and competitors. They’re used as a mechanism to punish or sabotage successful medical professionals, facilities, and companies.

A plaintiff in a qui tam lawsuit is referred to as a “qui tam relator.” The complaints that are filed in the appropriate federal district court in Louisiana are sealed to protect the privacy of the plaintiff. In the instance of legitimate whistleblowing, this is a helpful feature of the case. Unsealed complaints are provided only to the assigned judge and to the appropriate government officials involved in the investigation.

Investigations of this nature can take months. Extensions are often filed in the qui tam case and granted. During the investigation, your communication, financial, business, and billing records will be subpoenaed. Subpoenas may come from the FBI, DEA, IRS, OIG, DOJ, DOD, HHS, or other government agencies.

Your fraud defense attorney can be in contact with the investigating bodies during the investigation. When the investigation has been concluded, the federal government can choose to decline or support the qui tam lawsuit. If the government decides not to support the qui tam lawsuit, the plaintiff can still continue the lawsuit. If the government supports the case, it’s called intervening. At this point, you may face additional charges such as violating the Truth in Negotiation Act and the Anti-Kickback Act.

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP’s Guiding Principles

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP has an outstanding history of negotiating with the federal government and defending our clients in False Claims Act cases in the United States. We have three guiding principles that we use to help our clients.

  1. Contact with the federal government. When we are retained, we will establish and maintain contact with the federal government regarding your case. We can find out the type of charges you may be facing, what the government wants to accomplish, and how the issues can be resolved. We can usually get answers to questions within the first couple of days.
  2. Zealous qui tam defense. Since most qui tam lawsuits in Louisiana begin because of disgruntled former employees or competitors, we provide a zealous defense for our clients. We will challenge the presented evidence and work to destroy the credibility of the other party. The goal is to show the federal government that the claims made against you are unfounded. When this is done, the federal government is less likely to intervene.
  3. Settling with the federal government. In most of our former cases involving civil liability, we’ve negotiated damage amounts to a small portion of the federal government’s original demand. To this day, none of our former clients were forced to shut down their practice or their business because of a False Claims Act violation.

Investigations of this nature are serious and time-consuming. Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP can help. Call us right away to discuss your case. The initial consultation is free of charge and is confidential. You can call us at any time. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also email us or use our online contact form to get more information.

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP

The health care defense attorneys of Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP 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 Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP today and speak with former federal prosecutors and established defense counsel about your case. All initial consultations are free and confidential.

False Claims Act Defense Attorneys in Louisiana

Nick OberheidenDr. Nick Oberheiden has represented clients in Qui Tam, False Claims Act, Medicare Fraud, Tricare Fraud, Stark Law, and anti-kickback proceedings before virtually all federal agencies including but not limited to the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Labor (DOL). Dr. Oberheiden is trained in negotiations by Harvard Law School and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as a Ph.D. in law.

Lynette ByrdLynette S. Byrd is a former Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA). Clients greatly benefit from Lynette’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. Lynette has immense experience with health care law enforcement, and she regularly argues federal matters for her clients.

We are available to discuss your case. You can call us directly or complete our contact form or by sending us an email.

1-800-810-0259
Including Weekends
Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP
(800) 810-0259
(214) 469-9009
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. Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP is a Texas LLP with headquarters in Dallas. Mr. Oberheiden limits his practice to federal law.