Experienced Legal Defense for False Claims Act Violations Serving all of Texas

If you’re a health care practitioner, a facility, or health care business in Texas, you face an increased risk of being investigated and prosecuted for violating the False Claims Act. The Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP is a health care fraud defense law firm serving Texas. Harvard-trained Dr. Nick Oberheiden is the managing principal lawyer who assists clients throughout Texas. Lynette Byrd is also a former federal prosecutor. Ms. Byrd formerly prosecuted violations of the False Claims Act, health care fraud, violations of Stark Law, and Anti-Kickback Statute violations.

Texas False Claims Act Violations

The federal government investigates suspected violations of the False Claims Act throughout the entire United States. Yet, there are nine areas within the nation that the government pays particular attention to, and Texas is one of those nine areas. This is because Texas has a large number of people who are recipients of federal health care: Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and federal workers’ compensation. When there are a large number of people using these programs, more claims are filed by health care providers and businesses. This leads the government to believe that there may be a higher instance of violations of the False Claims Act. The Department of Justice announced released information about the number of investigations performed in 2016. The investigated more than 300 allegations and recovered more than $900 million in illegally paid out funds.

The State of Texas is monitored by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The job of this federal task force is to watch for, investigate, and prosecute violations of the False Claims Act. This task force is comprised of investigators and prosecutors from several federal agencies including the IRS, the DEA, DOJ, DOD, FBI, OIG, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

If you’re in Texas and you’re being investigated for an alleged violation of the False Claims Act, call Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP immediately to speak with an experienced health care fraud defense attorney.

What Is the False Claims Act?

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

You may have noticed the use of the word ‘knowingly.’ In this instance, it isn’t just about actually knowing. It means that if you didn’t have actual knowledge, you should have known because as a health care provider or entity, you should have known that whatever was being filed would be a violation of the False Claims Act. It’s a matter of due diligence. For instance, if you hire someone to perform your medical coding, it is your responsibility to know that the correct codes are used.

Civil and Criminal Liability

Texas health care providers, entities, and businesses who are charged with False Claims Act violations can face civil and criminal penalties. You may not immediately know whether you’re being investigated for civil or criminal charges. Defense lawyers at Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP can help you by getting you the answers that you need.

Civil penalties can include being ordered to pay treble damages, payment of fines of up to $11,000 per false claim, recoupment requests, future exclusion from federal health care programs, and having future claims denied. You could even face state disciplinary or licensing action or lose your hospital privileges. Criminal penalties include fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, criminal indictment, and possible federal imprisonment.

How Qui Tam Lawsuits Affect False Claims Act Violations in Texas

In Texas, most False Claims Act investigations are a result of a qui tam lawsuit. Qui tam lawsuits originated with good intentions. It was initially a way for private citizens to help the government recoup money that was fraudulently paid out. However, they are often filed by angry former employees and jealous competitors who just want to hurt your business.

Qui tam is a Latin phrase that means “he who sues for the king and himself.” Qui tam plaintiffs are known as “qui tam relators.” These lawsuits are filed in Texas federal district courts and they are sealed to protect the identity of the plaintiff. Only the assigned judge and the appropriate federal officials receive unsealed copies. If the qui tam lawsuit is successful, the plaintiff will be rewarded either 25 or 30 percent of the recovered money.

Qui tam lawsuits are turned over to the government for review and investigation. Because this process can take quite a while, extensions are routinely filed and granted in federal court. This allows the government to have all of the time that they need to investigate the suit and decide whether or not they will support the allegations.

During the investigation, you’ll receive subpoenas requesting your communications, financial, billing, and corporate records. These requests can come from multiple agencies including the DOD, DEA, DOJ, FBI, OIG, and IRS. However, that’s not an all-inclusive list.

After the government reviews your records, it will decide whether it will reject that qui tam lawsuit or support it. Just because the government rejects the qui tam lawsuit doesn’t mean it’s over. The plaintiff still has the option to continue the suit. If they win without the support of the government, the plaintiff will receive 30 percent of the recovered funds as a reward.

If the government decides to support the qui tam suit, this is known as intervention. You will likely face additional charges. If the qui tam lawsuit is successful, the plaintiff will be given 25 percent of the recovered amount as a reward.

When you’re notified of a False Claims Act investigation or qui tam lawsuit, you should immediately call Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP to discuss your case. We can contact the investigating bodies and work to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. The length of time each case takes is dependent upon many factors. Call us now to discuss your case.

Using Proven Defense Strategies in Texas

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP utilizes three core principles to assist our Texas clients. These principles were developed out of the combination of our federal prosecutorial and defense experience. We’ve successfully used these principles to represent health care practitioners, entities, and businesses throughout the United States.

  1. First and foremost, our goal is to minimize the likelihood of criminal charges for our Texas clients. We get into contact with investigating officials early in the process to get answers about the purpose of the investigation and the type of charges you may be facing. We’ll also ask how the investigation can be resolved. Usually, we’re able to get the answers to these questions within the first few days of engagement.
  2. For Texas qui tam lawsuits, our goal is to prove to the government that the allegations made against you are meritless, and that it should not support the claims. We work to disparage the credibility of the evidence and the plaintiff.
  3. Where civil liability is present, we will negotiate with the federal government on your behalf. In other cases, we’ve been able to negotiate the original damage amount down to a small percentage. To date, none of our False Claims Act clients had to close their practice or business.

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP has successfully represented clients in Texas and nationwide. We’ve represented nurses, doctors, clinics, hospitals, practice owners, physician owned entities, labs, pharmacies, and other health care businesses accused of violating the False Claims Act, involved in qui tam lawsuits, being investigated for violating the Anti-Kickback Statute, violating Stark Law, or Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare of Department of Labor investigations.

Here’s a partial showing of our Track Record of success:

  • 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.

If you’re in Texas and being investigated for violating the False Claims Act, call Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP immediately. Initial consultations are confidential and free.

Texas False Claims Act Defense Attorneys

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 Texas
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.