Orange County, California False Claims Act and Qui Tam Legal Defense

Qui tam lawsuits that are filed in Orange County, California or in the surrounding areas often result in an investigation for a potential violation of the False Claims Act. If you’re a defendant in a qui tam lawsuit or if you are being investigated for violating the False Claims Act, call Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP. We serve clients in Orange County, California and in the surrounding areas. Our defense team can assist you with qui tam defense, False Claims Act investigations, civil federal investigations, criminal investigations, and in other legal matters. Oberheiden’s legal defense team is headed by a highly experienced former Chief Health Care Fraud Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Our team has impressive legal backgrounds. Many have former federal prosecutorial experience. Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP represents clients in Orange County, California and the surrounding areas.

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP is a law firm that offers False Claims Act defense. Our firm possesses substantive experience in regulatory compliance, corporate structuring, litigation, federal government investigations, and criminal defense. The defense attorneys on our staff include a former Chief Health Care Fraud Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, former senior Department of Justice prosecutors, elite former lead prosecutors of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, and experienced defense lawyers with education from the country’s best law schools, including Harvard and Yale. Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP provides False Claims Act and qui tam defense services in Orange County, California and the surrounding areas.

False Claims Act Investigations in Orange County, California

Orange County, California facilities, entities, businesses, and individual health care providers have a higher risk of being investigated for False Claims Act violations than similar outlets throughout the majority of the United States. Orange County, California is one of nine locations that is closely monitored by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Orange County, California submits a larger number of claims to federal health care programs for reimbursement. This occurs because the area has such a large number of citizens who receive health care from federal health care programs. The government believes that there is a correlation between the increase in claims and violations of the False Claims Act.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force monitors, investigates, and subsequently prosecutes False Claims Act violations. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is a federal team of investigators and prosecutors that has members from the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Inspector General, the DEA, the FBI, the IRS, and can include other agencies. If you’re contacted by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, call Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP immediately to schedule your free and confidential initial consultation.

What Is the False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act is a federal statute that is applicable to any individual, business, or organization that has a direct or an indirect contract with and is paid by the federal government. It provides civil and criminal liability for any person, corporation, contractor, or organization that knowingly submits or causes the submission of a false claim for approval and payment by the federal government.

Under the law, actual knowledge or intention to violate the False Claims Act isn’t a requirement for the development of civil or criminal liability. Liability occurs because, as a professional in the health care industry, you knew or you should have known that what happened would be a violation of the False Claims Act. To provide a clear explanation, we can use medical coding. Recently, ICD-10 was released. It made some codes obsolete. Regardless of whether you outsource your coding to a professional organization or if you hired someone to perform your medical coding, it is your responsibility to know that the right codes are being used. It does not matter under the law that you are not the one actually doing the medical coding. If your employee or the contractor uses an outdated code, you could be held legally responsible.

Civil and Criminal Penalties

Violations of the False Claims Act can lead to civil or criminal charges. If you’ve been accused of violating the False Claims Act and you’re not sure if the investigation is civil or criminal, contact Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP. Once we are retained, we can help you get the answers that you need from the federal government and begin to advocate on your behalf.

Civil penalties are assessed by the civil court. Civil penalties can affect your career. You may face one or more of the following:

  • 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 extremely grave. You may be subject to one or more of the following penalties:

  • Criminal record
  • 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 in Orange County, California

Qui tam lawsuits in Orange County, California are a common cause of False Claims Act investigations. Qui tam lawsuits provide a way for private citizens to protect the government from being defrauded by illegal claims. Qui tam is Latin for “he who sues for the king and himself.” These lawsuits provide a monetary reward to the private citizens if they are successful in helping the federal government recover money from claims that were illegally paid out.

However, these lawsuits are routinely abused in Orange County, California and the surrounding areas. They are more commonly filed by angry former employees and competitors who know you’ve done nothing wrong. They just want to punish you or shut down your successful business. When these lawsuits are filed in the Central District of California federal court, they are sealed so that the plaintiff’s identity, known as the ‘qui tam realtor,’ is protected. Unsealed copies are provided to the assigned judge and involved federal investigators. Then, federal investigators begin the process of scrutinizing you (the named defendant) for violating the False Claims Act.

False Claims Act investigations can be time-consuming. The court will routinely grant six month extensions to give federal investigators the time that they need to finish their investigation. When the investigation begins, your California fraud defense lawyer can be in contact with investigators on your behalf. This is extremely helpful because it opens the lines of communication that can be used to settle the matter. We can get answers to questions, propose settlements, and work to resolve the investigation. The length of time that it may take to resolve the matter will depend on how complex your case is.

The federal government issues subpoenas during False Claims Act investigations to get copies of your corporate, financial, billing, and communication records. The subpoenas may come from the FBI, the DEA, DOJ, or other federal agencies. The federal investigators will review the records and determine whether they will support the qui tam lawsuit against you. If the federal government does not support the qui tam lawsuit, it isn’t necessarily over because the plaintiff can continue the lawsuit on their own. If the plaintiff is successful without government support, they will receive a reward of 30 percent of the recovered funds.

In cases where the government provides its support, it’s referred to as government intervention. This is concerning because it often means that you’ll face additional charges. To intervene, federal investigators must get the permission of the Department of Justice. When the qui tam lawsuit is amended, it may include additional charges such as violations of both the Anti-Kickback Act and the Truth in Negotiation Act. If the qui tam lawsuit is successful, the plaintiff will receive 25 percent of the recovered funds as a reward.

Solid Defenses for Orange County, California Clients

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP combines its collective experience as former federal health care fraud prosecutors and defense attorneys. We’ve established solid defense strategies for our Orange County, California clients facing False Claims Act investigations.

We know that most allegations of False Claims Act investigations occur because our clients had no intention of ever defrauding the government. They either made a mistake or they were accused of defrauding the government in a meritless qui tam lawsuit. We’ve developed the following principles to assist our Orange County, California clients:

Lessening the risk of criminal charges. One of our primary objectives is to lessen the risk of criminal charges. To do this, we use our experience as former federal health care fraud prosecutors and defense attorneys to determine whether you are exposed to criminal charges and find out what can be done to either minimize the risk or remove criminal charges from the table. We contact the federal government immediately on behalf of our clients to ask why our clients are being investigated, the existing exposure, and what can be done to resolve the matter. We can usually get answers to these questions within a few hours following our engagement by you.

Discouraging the possibility of government intervention. Many False Claims Act investigations in Orange County, California start because of an abusive qui tam lawsuit. When our clients are named as a qui tam defendant, we provide an aggressive defense. Our objective is to discredit the allegations and prove to the federal government that the claims have no merit. To do this, we question the accuracy of the claims, facts, and evidence presented by the plaintiff. We want to discourage the possibility of government intervention.

Potential settlement on behalf of our clients. When the government alerts us to the possibility of civil liability on behalf of our clients, we rely on our experience as negotiators to work toward a potential settlement. In many of our previous False Claims Act cases, we’ve negotiated the original damage amount down to a smaller fraction. None of our clients have been forced by the federal government to close their practice or business.

If you’re being investigated for violating the False Claims Act or if you are a defendant in a qui tam lawsuit, call Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP immediately to discuss your options. Initial consultations are free of charge and totally confidential.

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP has provided successful legal representation of doctors, 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 in relation to 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 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 now and ask to speak with our Health Care Fraud Defense Team about your case. Initial consultations are confidential and free.

False Claims Act Violation Defense Attorneys Serving Orange County, California

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 & McMurrey, LLP
Serving Orange County, CA 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.