Defending OIG Subpoenas in Detroit

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Detroit OIG Investigations

Detroit is one of only nine U.S. cities that hosts special federal task forces to prosecute healthcare fraud. Healthcare providers and businesses in Detroit need to understand that healthcare investigations in Detroit are more aggressive than elsewhere and led by the elite Healthcare Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT). HEAT is a coordinated federal task force composed of Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Offices of the Inspector General (OIGs), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and others.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Former DA

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney
& Former District Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior Trial Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
Linda Julin McNamara

Former Chief, DOJ Appeals

Local Counsel

Elizabeth Stepp
Elizabeth Stepp

Litigation Counsel

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former Federal Prosecutor

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (OIG)

Timothy E. Allen
Timothy E. Allen

Former Senior Special Agent

Chris Quick
Chris Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

David M. Bentz
David M. Bentz

Former U.S. Secret Service Agent

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

What to Do When You Receive an OIG Subpoena

Many healthcare providers first learn that they have possibly done something wrong when they receive a subpoena from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Inspector General (OIG), a branch of the Department of Justice tasked to investigate healthcare fraud. Either through mail or through personal delivery by two agents at the provider’s office, OIG subpoenas obligate targeted businesses to produce specified records such as corporate documents, financial summaries, and email communications. In Detroit, OIG subpoenas are most commonly served in the following healthcare sectors:

  • Hospice & Home Healthcare Centers
  • Pharmacies & Compound Pharmacies
  • Hospitals & Surgery Centers
  • DME Providers
  • Toxicology & DNA Laboratories
  • Large Physician Groups
  • Healthcare Executives
  • Medical Marketing Groups

What makes OIG subpoenas particularly dangerous is that the request does not specify whether the investigation is civil or criminal in nature—a threshold issue that transforms the defense strategy. Although experienced attorneys are often able to decode and read between the lines, full clarity will only derive from opening a dialogue with the agents and prosecutors on the case. Within the first hours of our engagement, the attorneys of The Criminal Defense Firm aim at answering these questions: What is the case about? Is the investigation civil or criminal? What is the government’s goal? What is our defense strategy? What is a potential outcome for this case? Most OIG investigations in Detroit center on the following alleged violations.

  • Medicare & Medicaid Fraud
  • Anti-Kickback Statute
  • False Claims Act
  • Stark Law (Self-Referrals)
  • HIPAA Compliance
  • DEA and Prescription Issues
  • Certifications of Medical Necessity
  • Billing Errors and Overbilling
  • Overutilization of Services and Equipment

If your practice or your business received an OIG subpoena, you should request a free and confidential consultation with one of our former Department of Justice healthcare prosecutors and experienced defense counsel. We have handled hundreds of OIG subpoenas throughout our careers and can advise you on the right steps to take to protect your business.

Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing with the OIG

If you have received an OIG subpoena or were contacted by federal agents, you should immediately reach out to an attorney familiar with OIG investigations and healthcare fraud defense. Many OIG investigations start rather harmless and undramatic, but from our experience as former prosecutors we have seen how a poorly prepared response or a bad advice on the production of requested documents may turn an OIG subpoena into a severe criminal matter. We caution against these three mistakes in connection with government subpoenas.

  • Do Not Ignore. Do not disregard or underestimate a government subpoena. Even if you don’t consider yourself a responsible person or a party to this case, you have a legal obligation to respond accurately. Federal courts can and will enforce subpoenas and there is zero advantage of being held in contempt of court.
  • Do Not Destroy. Businesses that receive a government subpoena should invoke a “Document Preservation Notice” to signal the government that the business and its officers, directors, executives, and employees will refrain from destroying, tampering with, or altering any documents or devices that may contain responsive materials to the subpoena. Note that the destruction of documents while under expected or actual subpoena may trigger obstruction of justice charges.
  • Do Not Volunteer Information. Some people have a tendency to overproduce and unnecessarily volunteer information to the government. The art of handling a government subpoena is to be responsive, but at the same time reticent. Information disclosed cannot be undone and experienced attorneys will make sure that privileged or incriminating information, or otherwise protected records will be filtered and withheld.

Choosing the Right Defense Lawyer

Healthcare investigations are highly specialized proceedings that require a profound understanding of the healthcare regulations as well as superb negotiation and trial expertise. You need attorneys that vigorously defend you and that have the skills to convince the government, the media, and the public that you did nothing wrong.

When picking an OIG defense attorney, healthcare business owners and medical professionals should look for three criteria.

  • First, expect your attorney to master every aspect of healthcare regulations. When your business is under attack, you simply don’t have time to explain your industry and its billing, coding, or certification rules to a lawyer. Federal agents are highly trained and when it comes to healthcare fraud negotiations, they know exactly if the defense attorney makes meaningful contributions or simply plays tough guy. Don’t hire an attorney that the prosecutor does not respect.
  • Second, your attorney must have specific experience in responding to OIG subpoenas and navigating a business through a federal healthcare audit or investigation. OIG investigations are intricate, and mistakes can quickly lead to criminal prosecutions. The best DUI attorney in the world may not be the OIG defense lawyer that can save your business.
  • Third, insist on a record. Ask specific questions, such as How many OIG Investigations has your firm handled so far? What percentage of those OIG Investigations that your firm handled resulted in no civil and no criminal liability outcomes for the client?

Our Proven Defense Strategies

What shapes the national healthcare fraud defense reputation of The Criminal Defense Firm are our experience and our record. Throughout our careers, we have handled over 1,000 healthcare investigations and tried more than 200 criminal cases in court. Many of our attorneys were previously in charge of healthcare audits and fraud investigations at the Department of Justice and they now offer their valuable insights and contacts with our clients. Our attorneys can assist you while responding to an OIG subpoena, as follows.

  • Collect. The first step in answering an OIG subpoena is collecting the responsive information. Our attorneys will immediately establish a dialogue with the prosecutor leading the investigation to get clarity on the government’s goal of the audit. Doing so is critical because the strategy to respond to the subpoena transforms if the initial conversation with the government suggests that the case is part of a criminal matter. Based on the information we receive; we will help collect and filtering information to be produced. If needed, we will make sure our clients get an extension.
  • Review. Not all responsive documents are appropriate for production; our attorneys will carefully review your document production not only for completeness, but also to ensure that privileged documents under the attorney-client-privilege and other protected information will not be disclosed. As former prosecutors we know how important it is to be careful when sharing documents with the government and our team follows a conservative, protective approach in each case.
  • Produce. Finally, we will appropriately organize relevant documents and present responsive records to the prosecutor. During the entire collection and production period, we will maintain communications with the government to try to avoid production and to settle the matter promptly.

Our Record

The Criminal Defense Firm clients range from individual providers to entire healthcare systems. We represent clients in Detroit who are under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), Detroit and Michigan law enforcement, or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We accomplished the following case outcomes for our clients in recent OIG investigations.

  • OIG Investigation against a Physician Group for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Physician Group for Alleged Tricare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Defense and FBI.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Physician Group for Alleged Medicaid Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Toxicology Laboratory for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Toxicology Laboratory for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Justice and FBI.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Toxicology Laboratory for Alleged Tricare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Defense and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Toxicology Laboratory for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Justice and FBI.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Device Manufacturer for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a DME Company for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Pharmacy for Alleged Federal Workers’ Compensation Fraud; Involvement of Department of Labor and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Pharmacy for Alleged Tricare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Laboratory for Alleged Federal Workers’ Compensation Fraud; Involvement of Department of Labor and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Physician Group for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Physician Owned Service Group for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.

OIG Defense Attorneys Serving Detroit

  • Dr. Nick Oberheiden is a Harvard-trained and internationally educated healthcare fraud defense attorney. Nick has successfully represented healthcare executives, business owners, public officials, physicians, and lawyers in high profile prosecutions, scores of political corruption, government investigations, and media campaigns, including 60 Minutes. He is most known for stopping federal investigations before criminal charges can be filed. Along with his healthcare defense practice, Nick leads internal investigations, implements corporate compliance programs, and teaches U.S. criminal law and federal litigation in the United States and abroad.

We are available to discuss your case. You can call us directly or complete our contact form, or email us directly.

The Criminal Defense Firm
Dallas 214-817-2053
Houston 713-454-7814
Detroit 313-634-0925
Baton Rouge 225-269-8749
New York 332-239-7345
Winter Park 407-890-0460
Miami 786-751-3247
Portland 207-222-7742
Nationwide 866-603-4540