Experienced Legal Defense for False Claims Act Violation Charges in the Midland Odessa Area

Health care practitioners, facilities, and businesses in the Midland-Odessa, Texas area face the increased risk for False Claims Act investigation and prosecution. If you’re in the Midland-Odessa area, you have knowledgeable health care fraud defense lawyers on your side. The Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP is a Texas law firm that practices in False Claims Act violations defense. Harvard-trained Dr. Nick Oberheiden is the managing principal lawyer. Lynette Byrd, a former federal prosecutor, is also an integral member of the team. Prior to joining the Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP, Ms. Byrd prosecuted False Claims Act violations, health care fraud, Stark Law violations, and Anti-Kickback violations.

False Claims Act Violations in Midland-Odessa, Texas

The federal government investigates alleged False Claims Act violations throughout the United States. However, there are nine areas within the United States that the federal government pays particular attention to – Midland-Odessa is one of those areas. This is because Midland-Odessa has a large number of recipients of Medicare and other federal health care programs. When a large number of government health care claims are filed, the government watches a little closer to ensure that the False Claims Act isn’t being violated. In 2016, the Department of Justice announced that they investigated over 300 cases and recovered more than $900 million.

Midland-Odessa, Texas is monitored by a Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Their job is to monitor, investigate, and prosecute False Claims Act violations. This federal task force is comprised of prosecutors and investigators from several federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, the FBI, and the IRS. If you’re being investigated by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, call Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP right away.

Defining the False Claims Act

The False Claims Act is a federal statute that applies to any individual or business that has direct or indirect contracts with and will be paid by the federal government on claims. The law is designed to create legal liability for individuals, contractors, organizations, or businesses who knowingly submit or who causes the submission of a false claim for approval and payment by the federal government.

When we talk about legal liability, it’s important that you understand that the word ‘knowingly’ doesn’t just refer to you having actual knowledge of the False Claims Act violation. It means that even if you didn’t actually know it happened, you should have known about what was going on. For instance, if you hire someone to perform your medical coding, you should know or you should have known that they are informed of the newest codes, and used them. If they use an obsolete code, that can be seen as a violation of the False Claims Act. As a health care professional, it is your professional responsibility to ensure that the people you hire, or outsource your billing and coding to, use the most up-to-date codes.

Criminal and Civil Liability

Midland-Odessa, Texas health care providers and entities who are charged with violating the False Claims Act can face serious civil and criminal penalties. At the beginning of the investigation, you may not know if you are facing civil or criminal penalties. Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP can help you find out. This is important because you could face both.

Civil liabilities can include being adjudged to pay treble damages, fines of up to $11,000 per claim, recoupment requests, and future exclusion from federal health care programs. Your future claims may also be denied. You could face disciplinary action, licensing action, and even lose your hospital privileges. Criminal penalties can include fines that cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, a criminal record, and even federal prison time of up to five years.

Qui Tam Lawsuit Basics

Most False Claims Act investigations in Midland-Odessa, Texas start because of a qui tam lawsuit that is filed in the Western District of Texas federal court. Qui tam lawsuits originated as a way for private citizens to sue on behalf of the federal government if they know about fraudulent activity. Qui tam is a Latin phrase that means “he who sues for the king and himself.” However, the true essence of whistleblowing has been primarily lost. Qui tam lawsuits are often filed by disgruntled former employees and disingenuous competitors who are looking to punish you.

A qui tam plaintiff is known as a “qui tam relator.” Qui tam lawsuits are sealed. The presiding judge and integral federal officials are the only people who receive unsealed copies. This is to protect the identity of the plaintiff. If the qui tam lawsuit is successful against you, the plaintiff will receive a monetary reward of either 25 or 30 percent.

False Claims Act investigations can be very lengthy. Qui tam cases that originate in Midland-Odessa often have extension requests filed and granted to ensure that the government has enough time to finish its investigation. You will likely receive subpoenas during the investigation. These subpoenas will be for various corporate, communication, billing, and financial records. These requests can come from several federal agencies including the DOD, DEA, DOJ, FBI, OIG, IRS, and other agencies.

Once the government receives and reviews your records, it will decide whether or not it will support the qui tam lawsuit. If the government rejects it, that doesn’t mean that the lawsuit is over. If the plaintiff chooses to move forward with the case and they win, they will be compensated with 30 percent of the monetary recovery. If the government chooses to support the qui tam lawsuit, this is known as intervention. You’ll likely face additional charges such as violating the Anti-Kickback Act and the Truth in Negotiation Act. If you lose the qui tam lawsuit, the plaintiff is entitled to 25 percent of the monetary recovery.

If you’ve been notified that you’re being investigated for violating the False Claims Act or that you’re involved in a qui tam lawsuit, you need a health care fraud defense attorney to help you. Your attorney can get into contact with federal prosecutors and investigators to negotiate a settlement on your behalf and to work to minimize the risk of criminal charges. The length of time it takes to settle your case depends upon just how complex it is.

Proven Defense Strategies

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP uses three core principles to assist our Midland-Odessa clients. We’ve developed these principles because of our combined experience in defense and as former federal prosecutors. We’ve successfully used these principles in our representation of people nationwide.

  1. The most important goal is to minimize the likelihood of criminal charges for Midland-Odessa clients. We use our experience and our open channels of communication to contact the federal prosecutors and investigators to get the answers to the questions that you have, including what type of charges you’re facing and what could be done to resolve the investigation. We can usually get these answers within the first few days.
  2. For Midland-Odessa clients involved in a qui tam lawsuit, we work to cast doubt on qui tam allegations. False Claims Act investigations in Midland-Odessa are often the result of false allegations by unhappy former employees and jealous competitors. We work to destroy their credibility. This is a critical component to prove to the government that the qui tam lawsuit doesn’t have any merit and that they should not support it.
  3. In cases that involve civil liability, we work to settle on your behalf with the federal government. We’ve negotiated originated damage amounts to a much smaller fraction. To date, none of our clients who faced a False Claims Act investigation had to shut down their business or their practice.

Call Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP immediately if you’re being investigated for violating the False Claims Act or if you’re involved in a qui tam lawsuit. Initial consultations are free of charge and confidential. Reach out to us by calling us, emailing us, or by using our contact form.

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP has successfully represented Midland-Odessa, Texas area doctors, nurses, physician-owned entities, clinics, hospitals, practice owners, labs, DME companies, pharmacies, health care marketing companies, and other health care businesses who face False Claims Act violations, qui tam lawsuits, violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark Law violations, or Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and Department of Labor investigations.

Here’s a look at some of our Track Record:

  • 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 immediately to speak with our Health Care Fraud Defense team about the details of your case. Initial consultations are totally confidential and free.

False Claims Act Defense Attorneys Serving Midland-Odessa, Texas

Nick OberheidenDr. Nick Oberheiden has represented clients in qui tam lawsuits, False Claims Act investigations, Medicare fraud investigations, Tricare fraud investigations, Stark Law violations, 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). Detroit clients greatly benefit from Ms. Byrd’s previous experience with the Department of Justice, where she prosecuted health care fraud, Anti-Kickback violations, violations of the False Claims Act, and Stark Law 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 to discuss your case. You can call us directly or complete our contact form or by sending us an email.

1 (888) 997-2520
Including Weekends
Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP
Serving Midland-Odessa, TX 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. Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP is a Texas LLP with headquarters in Dallas. Mr. Oberheiden limits his practice to federal law.