If you are under investigation by the Department of Defense (DOD), you need to take swift and aggressive action to defend yourself. At Oberheiden, P.C., we have decades of experience on both sides of DOD investigations nationwide. To get started on your defense, schedule a free consultation now.
For healthcare providers, durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers, and other companies in the healthcare industry that bill Tricare for reimbursements, there is a decent chance that they will eventually find themselves at the heart of a federal investigation. The Department of Defense (DOD) vigorously pursues healthcare companies suspected of Tricare fraud, pursuing both civil and criminal penalties that can include millions of dollars in fines and recoupments not to mention years behind bars for company executives and certain employees.
The same goes for defense contractors. Defense contracting is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and the DOD takes aggressive action against companies suspected of government contract fraud. At the Oberheiden, P.C., we bring decades of experience as both defense attorneys and federal prosecutors to defending healthcare companies and government contractors in DOD investigations.
About the Department of Defense (DOD)
With funding in excess of $500 billion annually, the Department of Defense (DOD) is charged with protecting our nation’s security. This includes maintaining and supporting all branches of the United States military, as well as employing nearly 750,000 civilians in posts across the country and internationally. A significant portion of the DOD’s budget also goes to paying private defense contractors and funding the Tricare healthcare benefit program.
The DOD’s investigative arm is the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG investigates both civil and criminal matters, including allegations of government contract fraud and Tricare fraud. If you have received notice that you are under investigation by the DOD, or if you have received a subpoena from the OIG, it is important that you speak with an experienced federal defense attorney right away.
Defending Yourself Against the Department of Defense
When facing a federal investigation, there are several important steps you need to take to protect yourself as much as possible. Building your defense starts with assembling a qualified team, and it is imperative that you do this before your DOD investigation leads to formal charges.
1. Choose a Team of Experienced Attorneys
When choosing the attorneys to represent you in your DOD investigation, there are several factors you want to consider. Not all law firms or defense attorneys are alike. They all offer different amounts of experience and experience in different areas, and most target only certain specific types of civil and criminal matters. For a DOD investigation involving allegations of Tricare fraud or government contract fraud, here are some key qualities and characteristics to look for in your legal representation:
- Government Experience Since you are defending yourself against the government, shouldn’t you have attorneys with experience inside the government fighting for you? At Oberheiden, P.C., several of our defense attorneys are former federal prosecutors who have extensive experience representing the government in DOD investigations. We know the government’s strategies, and we know how to effectively communicate and negotiate with federal investigators and prosecutors to protect our clients.
- A Concerted Team Approach While solo attorneys have a lot to offer, they often simply are not equipped to handle complex DOD investigations. Even at larger law firms, where only one attorney has DOD experience, the effectiveness of your legal representation will be limited. To build the strongest possible defense, you need a team of experienced attorneys who can efficiently pool their knowledge and conduct senior-level strategy sessions aimed at exploring novel ways to defend against your DOD investigation.
- Subject-Matter Knowledge The government contracting and Tricare systems are exceedingly complex, and when you are under investigation by the DOD, you need a defense team that can hit the ground running. This means that the lawyers you choose should not only know the laws that apply to your case such as the False Claims Act or the Stark Law ? but also know the intimate factual and regulatory details that will most likely be key factors in your investigation.
- A Record of Success Of course, having all of the requisite knowledge is meaningless if you cannot use it effectively. When facing off against the DOD, you do not want your case to be your attorneys? first rodeo. The firm you choose should have a demonstrated record of securing favorable results and a high rate of success.
- Free Initial Consultations When you meet with an attorney for the first time, this should be your opportunity to ask questions about your case and figure out if you think the attorney will be a good fit. You will need to be able to trust your attorney with sensitive, highly confidential information, and you should feel confident that he or she will be able to represent you effectively in communications and negotiations with the DOD (and, if necessary, at trial). It shouldn’t cost you money to go through this process, and you should not feel pressured to hire an attorney because you have already spent money on an initial consultation.
2. Prepare for Your Initial Consultation
To get the most out of your initial consultation, you will want to come prepared. Remember, the goal is to be able to make an informed decision about your legal representation so that you can get started on your DOD investigation defense as soon as possible. Here are 10 questions that we recommend asking during your initial consultation:
- How much experience do you have in Department of Defense (DOD) investigations?
- Do any of the attorneys on your defense team have prior experience as federal prosecutors?
- What is your success rate in terms of helping clients under federal investigation avoid facing criminal charges?
- What do you know about Tricare billing regulations and procedures? What do you know about the government contracting system?
- Have you taken federal cases to trial?
- What are the first steps you will take if I choose to hire you for my case?
- What can I do to help you with my defense?
- Do you have the time available to devote sufficient attention to my case?
- Who will handle my case? Senior attorneys? Or, do junior attorneys or paralegals handle most of the workload at your firm?
- What can I reasonably expect, given what you know about my case?
You will want to see that the attorney is able to competently and confidently answer these questions with real, substantive information. If the attorney seems unsure, provides only superficial answers, or appears to be hiding something in any way, you will likely want to consider another option for defending your DOD investigation.
3. Execute a Customized and Targeted Defense Strategy
Once you choose your legal representation, it is time to develop and implement a customized and targeted defense strategy. This means that your defense strategy should be (i) tailored to the unique facts of your case, and (ii) aimed at securing a specific outcome (i.e., avoiding civil or criminal charges).
Working closely with you to uncover the facts of your case, your defense team should be able to competently and efficiently execute a strategy designed to protect you as much as possible. While your defense team will represent you in all communications with the Department of Defense, you should remain actively involved in your case, and your attorneys should keep you fully informed of the status of your investigation.
At Oberheiden, P.C., defending against a DOD investigation often starts with our “Emergency Defense Package.” The Emergency Defense Package includes key information and resources to help you take appropriate steps and avoid common mistakes to aid in your defense. This includes:
- General Protocols: What to Do
- Instructions for Management: How to Deal with Agents
- Instructions for Management: How to Deal with Employees
- Instructions for Employees
- Document Retention Forms
- Compliance Examination Instructions
- Important Contact Information
To get started with our Emergency Defense Package, contact us today.
Learn More about What to Expect from the DOD’s Investigation
When facing a DOD investigation, it is important to educate yourself about the process as much as possible. To help you better understand your current situation and what you can expect as your case progresses, we encourage you to review the following resources:
- Charged with a Federal Crime What You Need to Know
- What to Do First When Charged with a Federal Crime
- What are the Penalties for Tricare Fraud?
- What To Do if you Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
Schedule Your Free Consultation with the National Legal Defense Team at Oberheiden, P.C.
If you are facing a Department of Defense (DOD) investigation for Tricare fraud or government contract fraud, contact Oberheiden, P.C. today for a free, confidential consultation. We will schedule your initial consultation as soon as possible; and, if you choose to hire us, we will take swift action designed to protect you against facing federal charges. To get started on your DOD investigation defense and receive our Emergency Defense Package, call (888) 356-4634 or contact us online now.
Dr. Nick Oberheiden is a national litigation and trial criminal defense attorney who practices exclusively in the area of federal law.