Archive for 2018

DOJ Cites James Hoyer Case in 2018 Report on the False Claims Act

DOJ Whistleblower Attorneys
DOJ Whistleblower Attorneys

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently issued its report on False Claims Act cases for the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2018.  In the report, DOJ cited James Hoyer’s case against Prime Healthcare as an example of DOJ’s efforts to hold individuals accountable for fraud:

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Is the IRS Discouraging Whistleblowers From Coming Forward?

The IRS might be hampering its own whistleblower program by not implementing policies and procedures to incentivize whistleblower rewards. Since 2007, the IRS Whistleblower Program has helped collect $3.6 billion, from which whistleblowers received anywhere from 15 percent to 20 percent of the proceeds of an individual funds recovery. Read More…

 

Federal Whistleblower Report Announces Increased Rewards and Heightened Anti-Fraud Efforts

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) issued its annual report this month. The 31-page document evidences the CFTC’s heightened anti-fraud efforts and the increased rewards that we are seeing for those who come forward to report fraud through the CFTC Whistleblower Program that has resulted in almost $100 million in rewards. Read More…

 

James Hoyer Partner Leads Panel Discussion at TAF Conference

(L to R) Elaine Stromgren, Susan Gouinlock, Sean Keefe, Kristen Folding

James Hoyer partner Elaine Stromgren had the honor of leading a panel on statistical sampling at this year’s annual Taxpayers Against Fraud conference in Washington D.C.  Statistical sampling can be an essential tool in False Claims Act cases, especially when the fraud is too widespread to prove each false claim on an individual basis.

Elaine was able to successfully use statistical sampling to aid in settling the recent Prime Healthcare case for $65 million. She proposed the topic for this year’s conference and worked to assemble stellar panel members to share their expertise.

The distinguished panelists included attorney Susan Gouinlock, co-counsel in the Prime Healthcare Case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Keefe (former James Hoyer partner), and statistics expert Kristen Folding of Amenity Consulting.

The panel discussed important aspects of statistical sampling to help relators’ counsel understand the basic concepts involved in developing an effective and reliable statistical sampling plan. They also tackled tough issues like aggressive challenges by defendants who have attacked sampling as a method to prove liability.  Attendees learned ways to overcome legal challenges to sampling and extrapolation.

As always, this panel and others at this year’s TAF conference provided a wonderful forum to share ideas and help fellow attorneys in our efforts to represent whistleblowers and fight fraud against the government.

 

Investigative Report on Medical Fraud Profiles James Hoyer Whistleblower Case

A powerful investigative report appearing on several Florida TV stations is exposing the alarming problem of medical equipment fraud, which costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year. (Watch the report above.)

James Hoyer clients Codi Fletcher & Daniel Yarbrough interviewed for investigative report (Photo courtesy: WPTV)

Two whistleblowers represented by the James Hoyer law firm were interviewed and shared their stories to help expose the problem.

Both former employees of AM-Med Medical Supplies in Florida, they explained how patients were endlessly harassed to buy equipment they didn’t want and then the government was billed for it.

Attorney Jesse Hoyer interviewed by Scripps Investigative Reporter Katie LaGrone. (Photo courtesy: WPTV)

 

James Hoyer partner Jesse Hoyer also talked with Scripps Investigative Reporter Katie LaGrone to explain how this whistleblower case is shining a light on this troubling issue.  The suit reveals that supplies were even sent to dead people with taxpayers picking up the tab.

LaGrone presents a compelling report on how this nationwide problem takes advantage of patients and taxpayers.

Click here to read the full report on the website for WPTV TV in Ft. Myers.  Or click here to read the full report on the website for Fox4 in Tallahassee. And click here to read the full report on ABC Action News in Tampa.

 

 

James Hoyer Client Named 2018 Whistleblower of the Year

Karin Berntsen

James Hoyer, P.A. is proud to announce that our client Karin Berntsen was named Whistleblower of the Year at the annual Taxpayers Against Fraud awards dinner, in Washington, D.C. This marks the second time in the past three years that a James Hoyer client has been bestowed with this great honor.

Ms. Berntsen blew the whistle on Prime Healthcare, the 5th largest healthcare system in the country, exposing evidence of improper billing and upcoding which she believed was putting patients at risk and abusing taxpayer dollars. Her fearless, tireless, seven-year commitment to the case resulted in the company paying $65 million dollars to settle civil charges of fraud against the government.

I am very honored to be selected as the 2018 Whistleblower of the Year by Taxpayers Against Fraud,” Ms. Berntsen said. “It wasn’t easy, but sometimes that makes you more determined. The more obstacles I had, the stronger it made me.  I knew the taxpayers were being cheated and the patients were put at risk, so coming forward was just the right thing to do.”

It took incredible courage and perseverance for Ms. Berntsen to continue with the case for seven long years, despite extreme personal hardship, which included serious illnesses, surgeries, and hospitalizations. Nevertheless, she endured through it all, remaining in place as an employee at Prime’s Alvarado Hospital in San Diego and wearing a wire for the FBI on multiple occasions to record evidence.

Partner Elaine Stromgren accepts the Whistleblower of the Year Award on behalf of James Hoyer client Karin Berntsen

“Karin’s dedication to justice was unwavering. I cannot imagine a more deserving individual for this prestigious honor. She put her career on the line against a powerful company, but through it all, she remained strong,” said James Hoyer Partner Elaine Stromgren, Ms. Berntsen’s lead attorney, who accepted the award on her behalf at the TAF dinner Thursday night in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Berntsen has dedicated her life to ensuring patient safety. She began her career as a registered nurse, then served as a patient safety officer, and also authored two published books on patient safety before eventually becoming Director of Performance Improvement at Alvarado Hospital. Her concern for the well-being of the patients was one of her main motivations for coming forward as a whistleblower.

“I continually witnessed blatant healthcare fraud at the highest level of the organization. The patients were becoming commodities. They were becoming dollar signs, not people,” Ms. Berntsen said.

Ms. Berntsen expressed her appreciation for receiving the award in a videotaped statement played at the awards dinner because she was unable to attend due to a recent surgery. Here is an excerpt:

“When my complaints fell on deaf ears and my job was threatened, I researched my options and found the James Hoyer investigative law firm. They had a solid record of success and stellar professionals working there.

I interviewed with Al Scudieri a retired FBI agent with a wealth of experience. My attorney Elaine Stromgren worked tirelessly with other attorneys and the government to expose the fraud at this organization.

Attorneys Clark Bolton, Elaine Stromgren & Jesse Hoyer at the TAF awards dinner.

It took seven years, and we were eventually headed toward trial, but with the work of many, we reached a successful settlement this year. I am very grateful to that team.  I want to say a very special thank you to Taxpayers Against Fraud for this wonderful recognition.”

Please join James Hoyer in congratulating Karin for this deserving recognition.

“We are proud to stand beside Karin and grateful we could assist her in this important battle on behalf of patients and taxpayers,” Stromgren said. “The courage it takes to become a whistleblower is enormous, and we hope her success will inspire others to come forward to do the right thing when they witness fraud against the government.”

Click here to view Karin’s acceptance of the Whistleblower of the Year award.

 

James Hoyer Expanding Presence to D.C./Michigan & Adding Employment Law Practice

Dave Scher & David Haron

James Hoyer, P.A. is pleased to announce that it is expanding its presence to Washington D.C. and Michigan with two recent additions.  First, attorney Dave Scher, principal at The Employment Law Group for the past decade, is joining the firm as partner and will lead our new Washington, D.C. office and our new employment law practice.  Second, James Hoyer has established a formal association with attorney David Haron, founder and CEO of Haron Law Group in Detroit, Michigan to collaborate on whistleblower cases.

Scher’s expertise in both whistleblower litigation and employment law will be a tremendous asset to James Hoyer.  He has built a reputation as a fierce advocate for his clients in whistleblower cases, and his location in Washington, D.C. provides close proximity to key decision-makers at the Department of Justice and other federal agencies.  Dave has represented hundreds of whistleblowers in Medicare, securities, government contracting, and financial fraud cases nationwide.  Victories for his clients have recovered nearly $100 million over the past decade.  Further, Scher’s expertise as an employment litigator in equal pay, gender bias, discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower claims make him the perfect attorney to establish our employment law practice.

“We’ve had the good fortune of working with Dave Scher on multiple whistleblower cases over the past several years and are excited to have him on our qui tam team and also as a driving force behind our new employment law practice,” said James Hoyer Managing Partner Jesse Hoyer.  “His tireless dedication and rock-solid relationships with federal officials have proven incredibly valuable, and we are lucky to have him on board full-time.”

In addition, David Haron’s extensive experience with the False Claims Act and health care law also will be an important asset to James Hoyer.  For 35 years, he has been a major force in whistleblower litigation in Michigan and throughout the country.  Among his many clients, Haron represented the whistleblower in the case against a Detroit doctor who’s been labeled “a monster” for falsely telling patients they had cancer, so he could cash in on their chemotherapy treatments.  The doctor was convicted and sent to prison, and with Haron’s help, the government recovered $17 million dollars for the fraudulent billing of chemotherapy to Medicare.  The case was recently profiled on the new CBS program Whistleblowers.”  James Hoyer and Haron will jointly work False Claims Act, health care, SEC, and employment cases.

“Collaborating with David is a powerful new tool in our arsenal to fight for whistleblowers and battle fraud against the government,” Hoyer said.  “This is an exciting time for the James Hoyer firm and having David’s experience and boundless energy on board will help to propel us to new heights.”

James Hoyer is one of the premiere whistleblower/False Claims Act law firms in the nation.  Our cases have recovered billions of dollars on behalf of taxpayers and consumers over the past 25 years.  The additions of attorneys Dave Scher and David Haron give our firm two more powerful allies to continue our proven track record of success.

 

CFTC’s Authority Over Standalone Anti-Fraud Activities under the Dodd-Frank Act

There is presently a disagreement among federal courts as to the scope of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) anti-fraud and anti-manipulation authority under the Dodd-Frank Act. The CFTC’s primary focus has always been on swaps and commodity futures contracts governed by the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).  However, the CFTC has also historically had anti-fraud and anti-manipulation enforcement authority as well relating to transactions that involve actual purchases of a commodity, such as precious metal sales of gold coins.  See CEA Sections 4b; 6(c)(3); 9(a)(2). Read More…

 

Post Acute Medical Agrees to Pay More Than $13 Million to Settle Allegations of Kickbacks and Improper Physician Relationships

Post Acute Medical, LLC, a Pennsylvania-based operator of long‑term care and rehabilitation hospitals across the country, and certain affiliated entities through which the company operates its facilities (collectively, “PAM”), have agreed to pay the United States, Texas, and Louisiana a total of $13,168,000 to resolve claims that they violated the False Claims Act, and the Texas and Louisiana false claims statutes, by knowingly submitting claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs that resulted from violations of the Anti‑Kickback Statute and the Physician Self‑Referral Law, the Justice Department announced today. Read More…

 

CFTC Announces Multiple Whistleblower Awards Totaling More than $45 Million

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced multiple whistleblower awards totaling more than $45 million.  The awards demonstrate the growing success of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program, in particular, the increasing volume and complexity of incoming whistleblower submissions. Read More…