St. Louis False Claims Act and Qui Tam Lawsuit Defense Serving the St. Louis Area

Qui tam lawsuits in St. Louis are on the rise. Sadly, these lawsuits often result in innocent and hardworking medical professionals and business owners being investigated for False Claims Act violations. The Oberheiden Law Group is a qui tam defense law firm. We assist clients in need of qui tam defense, during False Claims Act investigations, and in other legal matters related to the health care industry. Our legal defense team is led by Chief Health Care Fraud Coordinator from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Oberheiden’s legal team is highly experienced and educated. We serve clients in St. Louis and in the surrounding area.

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP is recognized in the field of False Claims Act and qui tam lawsuit defense. Our firm has substantial experience in regulatory compliance, corporate structuring, litigation, federal government investigations, and criminal defense. Our False Claims Act defense attorneys include a former Chief Health Care Fraud Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s office, former senior Department of Justice health care fraud prosecutors, elite former lead prosecutors of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, and accomplished attorneys with education from the country’s best law schools, including Yale and Harvard. Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP now provides False Claims Act and qui tam defense services in St. Louis and the surrounding areas.

False Claims Act Investigations in St. Louis

St. Louis entities, facilities, businesses, and individual health care practitioners face a higher risk of being investigated for violating the False Claims Act than similar agencies throughout most of the nation. St. Louis is one of nine places in the United States that is closely monitored by the elite Medicare Fraud Strike Force. This occurs because St. Louis submits a vast number of claims to federal health care programs for reimbursement. This occurs because St. Louis has a large population that relies on federal health care programs for their care. The government believes in a correlation between the increase in the number of claims filed and the number of False Claims Act violations.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force watches for, investigates, and prosecutes False Claims Act violations. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is a team of investigators and prosecutors 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 the Medicare Fraud Strike Force contacts you, you should immediately call Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP to schedule your free and confidential initial consultation.

Defining the False Claims Act

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

Actual knowledge or intention of filing a false claim isn’t required in order for you to face civil or criminal punishment. Legal liability develops because, as a health care professional, the government believes that you knew or should have known that what was happening would violate the False Claims Act. For a clear example, think about medical coding. The release of ICD-10 made the use of some codes obsolete. Whether you hire someone to work in your office or outsource your coding, you have the legal obligation to ensure that the right codes are used although you may not be the person who actually completes the coding. If your employee or contractor uses an obsolete code, you could be held legally responsible and face serious civil and criminal penalties.

Civil and Criminal Penalties

If you violate the False Claims Act, you can face civil or criminal charges. If you’re accused of a False Claims Act violation, you should immediately contact Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP. It can be hard for most people to tell whether their investigation is civil and criminal. That’s where we can help. Once retained, we can help you get the answers that you need.

Civil penalties are handed down the civil court. These penalties can affect the rest of your life. You may face one or more of the following as a result of civil charges:

  • 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 severe as well. You may be subject to one or more of the following criminal 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 St. Louis

Qui tam lawsuits in St. Louis are often the instigating factor of a False Claims Act investigation. These lawsuits were designed to provide a way for private citizens to protect the government from paying out on illegal claims. Qui tam is a Latin phrase that means “he who sues for the king and himself.” These lawsuits are incentivized. Plaintiffs, known as ‘qui tam realtors,’ receive a percentage of the recovered funds if the lawsuit is successful.

Unfortunately, qui tam lawsuits are routinely abused. Instead of being a tool used by legitimate whistleblowers, they are often filed in the Eastern District of Missouri federal court by angry former employees or competitors. The lawsuits are sealed by the court to protect the identity of the plaintiff. Unsealed copies of the court documents are provided to the assigned judge and federal investigators.

False Claims Act investigations can be time-consuming. The court will grant six month extensions to provide the federal government the time that it needs to finish the investigation. From the very moment when the investigation gets under way, your health care fraud defense lawyer can be in direct contact with the federal government. This is extremely beneficial for your case, because it opens the lines of communication to begin to resolve the investigation. The length of time that it may take to settle the claims will depend on how complex those claims are.

You will receive subpoenas during the investigation. The federal government may request 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 documents and make the decision on whether or not they will support the lawsuit against you. If the federal government chooses not to support the lawsuit, it doesn’t mean that it’s over. The plaintiff can continue the lawsuit without the support of the federal government. If the lawsuit is successful, the plaintiff will receive 30 percent of the recovered funds.

If the federal government supports the qui tam lawsuit, it is called ‘government intervention.’ This is extremely grave because you will likely face additional charges. Federal investigators must get the permission of the Department of Justice to intervene in the qui tam lawsuit. Additional charges may include violations of 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 St. Louis False Claims Act Investigations

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP uses its collective experience as former federal health care fraud prosecutors and defense attorneys. We’ve developed compelling defense strategies for our St. Louis clients who are being investigated for False Claims Act violations.

We recognize that most allegations occur because our clients made a mistake and had no intention to defrauding the government. We’ve developed the following principles to assist our St. Louis clients:

Minimizing the risk of criminal charges. One of our most important goals is to minimize the risk of criminal charges to our clients.  We use our experience as former federal health care fraud prosecutors and fraud defense attorneys to scrutinize the risk of criminal charges and work with federal investigators to determine what can be done to take those charges off of the table. Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP immediately reaches out on behalf of our clients to determine why the investigation is occurring, the existing exposure, and what our clients can do to resolve the investigation. We can usually get the answers to these questions within just a few hours following our engagement.

Qui tam defense. Since many False Claims Act investigations in St. Louis begin because of an abusive qui tam lawsuit, we provide an aggressive defense. We work to discredit the allegations and the plaintiff. We work to show the federal government that the claims against you have no merit. Our objective is to discourage government intervention.

Favorable settlements. When the federal government alerts us to the possibility of our clients facing civil liability, we work toward a favorable settlement on your behalf. Our goal is to reduce the original amount down to a fraction. To date, none of our clients being investigated for violating the False Claims Act have been forced to close down their practice or business.

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP has successfully represented 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 St. Louis

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 St. Louis, Missouri 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.