Grand Jury Subpoenas
Trusted Attorneys for Clients Facing a Grand Jury Subpoena
The grand jury subpoena is one of the federal government’s most potent tools for uncovering evidence of health care fraud. When health care providers respond (or fail to respond) to grand jury subpoenas without due consideration for the potential consequences, they will often face severe penalties resulting from civil and criminal investigations. If you, one of your business partners, or one of your employees has been served with a grand jury subpoena, it is critical that you seek experienced legal representation as soon as possible.
When federal prosecutors are deciding whether to pursue charges against health care providers suspected of defrauding Medicare or another government benefit program, they will often use grand juries to aid in their investigations. Grand juries are very different from trial juries, and the grand jury is a foreign concept to most health care providers. Grand juries – which consist of 23 jurors who sit in total secrecy – have the power to compel witnesses to testify and produce documents, and their role is to help the prosecutor’s office decide whether there is “probable cause” to pursue charges against the target of the investigation.
Grand juries can compel testimony and the production of health care providers’ records through the issuance of grand jury subpoenas. They can subpoena company owners, executives, and employees as individuals, or as “custodians” for the records of the business. In both cases those who are named in grand jury subpoenas must ensure that they have a clear understanding of their obligations. They must also understand the limitations on the grand jury’s and prosecution’s authority. Only a clear understanding will enable them to respond appropriately, without disclosing any more than is absolutely necessary.
National Reach Federal Law Health Care Fraud Defense Firm for Grand Jury Subpoenas
Oberheiden, P.C., is a health care fraud defense law firm that represents health care providers and their personnel in federal investigations and prosecutions nationwide. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of grand jury proceedings across the United States – both as defense lawyers and as attorneys for the federal government. We understand the nuances and complex legal issues involved in federal grand jury proceedings. We can use our extensive experience to help protect you from unnecessary consequences which could include fines, treble (triple) damages, recoupments, federal benefit program exclusion, and even federal imprisonment.
Our team of federal defense lawyers is led by partner Dr. Nick Oberheiden. Dr. Oberheiden has successfully represented health care providers in grand jury investigations involving a wide range of complicated legal issues. Dr. Oberheiden brings to his clients a thorough knowledge of federal health care law and a strategic approach to health care fraud defense. He is trusted by many physicians, pharmacists, hospice owners, home health care providers, durable medical equipment (DME) company executives, and other health care industry participants across the nation.
The other members of our health care fraud defense team include:
- Lynette S. Byrd, Former Federal Prosecutor
- Heath Hyde, Former Prosecutor
- Elizabeth Stepp, Appellate Attorney
- Michael A. Rataj, Of Counsel
- Pascual Meyer, Litigation Attorney
Defending Against Federal Grand Jury Subpoenas
Defending against a federal grand jury subpoena requires a thorough understanding of both federal procedural law and the specific health care law (or laws) underlying the government’s investigation. As a result, it is critical to choose a law firm that has experience not only in the area of federal litigation or health care law compliance, but in the specific area of federal health care fraud defense.
At Oberheiden, P.C., our senior defense attorneys and former federal prosecutors offer extensive experience in federal grand jury investigations involving alleged health care law violations including:
- False and fraudulent claims under the False Claims Act
- Illegal bribes and referral fees under the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law
- Conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and other associated federal offenses
- Federal health care benefit program fraud (including Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and Department of Labor (DOL) fraud)
- Other federal health care law violations
FAQs: What You Need to Know if You Have Received a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena
Q: Why have I received a federal grand jury subpoena?
If you have received a federal grand jury subpoena, this means that the government suspects that you are either involved in or have material information about a possible federal offense. For most health care providers, this means that either: (i) data analytics performed by authorities such as the Medicare Fraud Strike Force have identified “abnormalities” in your health care benefit program billings, or (ii) someone has filed a whistleblower (or “qui tam”) lawsuit alleging health care fraud under the False Claims Act. You may have been singled out personally because you are a company owner or executive, you are involved in the day-to-day operations or program billings of your business, or federal prosecutors have given the grand jury another reason to suspect that you have information about false billings or a fraudulent scheme.
Q: Do I need to prepare to testify or produce the records requested in the subpoena?
Yes, unless you are advised otherwise by your legal counsel. There are severe consequences to ignoring or otherwise failing to properly respond to a grand jury subpoena, so you need to take your subpoena seriously. At Oberheiden, P.C., we work with our clients to identify potential grounds to challenge their subpoenas, and to prepare responses that meet their legal obligations without unnecessarily providing information that could potentially lead to further investigation.
Q: If I have received a federal grand jury subpoena, do I need to be concerned about record retention?
Yes. If documents that would be responsive to the subpoena are destroyed at any time after the subpoena has been issued, you could face additional charges for obstruction of justice, which is a federal felony. This is true for both intentional destruction designed to conceal information from the grand jury, as well as the destruction of records in the ordinary course of business. Any health care business or practice that has received a grand jury subpoena (through an executive or employee who has been designated as a record “custodian”) must take prompt and comprehensive measures to ensure that no responsive records or files get destroyed or deleted.
Q: Do I have to provide everything requested in the grand jury subpoena?
Whether you need to provide everything requested depends on the scope of the government’s investigation, the scope of the subpoena, the contents of the subpoena (i.e. whether it contains any technical deficiencies), and a variety of other factors. When you engage Oberheiden, P.C., for your grand jury investigation, we will promptly review your subpoena to determine whether you have grounds to challenge the grand jury’s requests. We will also seek to make contact with the prosecutors involved in your case to learn more about the nature of the investigation, and explore any opportunities to negotiate a more-limited request.
Q: Should I provide additional information to prove that my health care business or medical practice does not have anything to hide?
Generally speaking, no. When it comes to providing information about your business or practice to the government, supplying additional information in order to try to prove your innocence could actually end up being detrimental to your case. You certainly do not want to provide access to the entire computer system, or complete set of records for your business. If you provide additional information, the government’s attorneys may use it to expand their investigation, ultimately leading to additional potential exposure.
Q: What if I need more time to compile all of the records requested in the subpoena?
Grand jury subpoenas for health care fraud investigations tend to be extraordinarily broad; and, for many providers, compiling all of the records requested can seem like an insurmountable task. It is important to quickly assess the burdens of complying with the subpoena. If you do not think you can reasonably prepare your document production in time, you should discuss your options with your attorney. There are tools available that can help streamline the process of identifying, filtering, organizing, and compiling electronic records; and, if warranted by the circumstances, you may be able to seek an extension. However, you should not exceed your production deadline under the subpoena unless, and until, you have received formal approval.
Q: Am I entitled to legal representation when I appear before the grand jury?
Many people are surprised to learn that the answer to this question is, “No.” When you appear before a grand jury, you are not entitled to have your attorney present. However, your attorney can wait outside of the courtroom, and you are entitled to confer with your attorney outside of the grand jury’s presence in a manner that does not disrupt the grand jury system.
Q: What happens if the grand jury issues an indictment?
Remember, grand juries are different from trial juries, and a grand jury indictment does not mean that you have been convicted of a federal offense. Rather, it means that the jurors have determined that there is “probable cause” for the government to pursue charges against you. If the circumstances do not allow you to avoid an indictment, being indicted simply means that you must move to the next phase of your defense.
Q: Can I talk about what happened in front of the grand jury?
Yes, while grand jurors are entitled to (and are obligated to abide by) a strict code of privacy, this does not apply to witnesses and targets of federal investigations. In addition to discussing the proceedings with your attorney, you can also confer and strategize with your company’s other key personnel and any other potential witnesses.
Oberheiden, P.C. | Your Choice for Experienced and Strategic Legal Representation
Oberheiden, P.C., is an experienced and strategic choice for health care providers facing grand jury investigations across the nation. Several of our attorneys have held senior positions within the federal government, and each member of our health care fraud defense team has successfully handled numerous health care fraud investigations. When you contact us about your grand jury subpoena, we will:
- Take a team approach that affords you the benefit of decades of combined legal experience
- Develop and execute a personalized and comprehensive defense strategy
- Provide guidance to key personnel on avoiding costly mistakes
- Represent you in communications with prosecutors and federal agents
- Work tirelessly and efficiently for our goal to resolve your investigation without charges
Facing a Grand Jury Subpoena? Contact Oberheiden, P.C., for a Free Consultation
To discuss your grand jury subpoena with the attorneys on our federal law health care fraud defense team, we encourage you to schedule a complimentary consultation. Call (888) 452-2503 nationwide, or submit our case evaluation form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.