San Diego Office
550 W C St #1150
San Diego, CA 92101
714-294-2000
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Experienced Lawyers Providing Defense for False Claims Act and Qui Tam Fraud Charges in the San Diego Area

San Diego has an increasing number of investigations into potential violations of the False Claims Act. These investigations are often triggered by qui tam lawsuits. The Oberheiden Law Group provides legal representation for San Diego, California and in the surrounding areas for individuals being investigated over the False Claims Act or who are named in qui tam lawsuits. Additionally, we assist clients with federal investigations and criminal defense matters. Oberheiden’s legal defense team is managed by a former Chief Health Care Fraud Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Attorneys with The Oberheiden Law Group have impressive educational and employment backgrounds. We provide legal services in San Diego, California and in the surrounding areas.

The Oberheiden Law Group is a distinguished law firm practicing in False Claims Act defense work. Our firm is known for its substantive experience in regulatory compliance, corporate structuring, litigation, federal government investigations, and in criminal defense. The fraud 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. The Oberheiden Law Group, PLLC provides False Claims Act and qui tam defense services in San Diego, California and the surrounding areas.

San Diego False Claims Act Investigations

San Diego health care providers, facilities, entities, and businesses run a higher risk of being investigated for violating the False Claims Act than similar entities throughout the nation. San Diego is one of nine areas directly monitored by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. San Diego is the home of a large number of citizens who rely on federal health care programs for care. This means that more claims are filed through the federal government for reimbursement. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force watches areas that file a large number of claims much closer for False Claims Act violations than other areas.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is a federal agency that is actually made up of investigators and prosecutors from various other federal agencies including 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. The job of this agency is to monitor, investigate, and prosecute violations of the False Claims Act. If you are contacted by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, call the Oberheiden Law Group right away to schedule your free and confidential initial consultation.

What Is the False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act is a federal law that creates civil and criminal penalties for any individual, business, or organization that has a direct or an indirect contract with and that is paid by the federal government that knowingly submits or causes the submission of a false claim for approval and payment by the federal government.

The False Claims act doesn’t require actual knowledge. Civil and criminal 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. An example of how this occurs is easily seen with medical coding. ICD-10 was recently released and provided updated codes. 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.

What Are the Civil and Criminal Penalties of False Claims Act Violations?

False Claims Act violations can lead to civil or criminal charges. If you’re accused of violating the False Claims Act, you may not know whether the investigation is civil or criminal in nature. Contact the Oberheiden Law Group immediately. When we are retained by you, we can help get the answers that you need and begin to advocate on your behalf.

Civil penalties can affect your career and even stop you from working in the legal industry. You may be subject to 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 also serious. You may be subject to one or more of the following:

  • 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

San Diego Qui Tam Lawsuits

Qui tam lawsuits in San Diego, California often cause False Claims Act investigations. These 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.

The issue is that qui tam lawsuits are often abused in San Diego and the surrounding areas. They are often filed by discontented former employees and competitors who are simply out to punish you or eliminate you from the health care industry. When qui tam lawsuits are filed in the Southern District of California federal court, they are sealed to protect the plaintiff’s identity. Unsealed copies are given only to the presiding judge and federal investigators. This triggers the False Claims Act investigation against you or your business.

The court will routinely grant six month extensions to give the federal government enough time to finish their investigation. From the very beginning of the investigation, your attorney should be in contact with the federal government on your behalf. This 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 San Diego cases where the government provides their 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.

Compelling Defenses for San Diego, California Clients

The Oberheiden Law Group provides compelling defense strategies for health care professionals, entities, and businesses 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 San Diego clients:

Mitigating criminal charges. One of our primary objectives is to mitigate the possibility of criminal charges. We utilize our experience as former federal health care fraud prosecutors and criminal 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.

Qui tam defense. An abusive qui tam lawsuit can ruin your business. When our San Diego 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.

Call the Oberheiden Law Group right away if you’re a named defendant in a San Diego qui tam lawsuit. Initial consultations are free of charge and confidential.

The Oberheiden Law Group, PLLC

The Oberheiden Law Group 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 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 Violation Defense Attorneys Serving San Diego, 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.

714-294-2000
Including Weekends
Oberheiden Law Group, PLLC
Serving San Diego, 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. The Oberheiden Law Group PLLC is a Texas PLLC with headquarters in Dallas. Mr. Oberheiden limits his practice to federal law.