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Los Angeles 310-873-8140
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Tampa, Florida False Claims Act Violations Defense Lawyers

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What You Need to Know About False Claims Act Violations in Tampa, Florida

Oberheiden, P.C. is a Dallas-based health care law defense firm that works on cases in the areas of regulatory compliance, corporate structuring, litigation, government investigations, and criminal defense. Our firm’s diverse group of attorneys includes the former Chief Health Care Fraud Coordinator at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, former senior Department of Justice trial attorneys, and former lead prosecutors of the elite Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The lawyers at our firm have years of relevant experience and studied at some of the country’s most prestigious law schools. We serve clients in Tampa and throughout Florida.

Tampa, Florida health care providers, clinics, other medical facilities, organizations, and related businesses face a higher than average risk of being investigated for violating the False Claims Act. The Oberheiden, P.C. offers strategic defense of Tampa, Florida clients who are facing this serious federal allegation. Dr. Nick Oberheiden, a Harvard-trained lawyer and negotiator, is the principal managing partner.

The Reason Why Tampa Health Care Faces a Higher Risk

By Tampa health care, we’re referring to providers (such as doctors, nurses, and other health care providers), facilities (such as clinics, hospitals, or other care and treatment facilities), and businesses (such as pharmacies, laboratories, and medical device providers). Regardless of your role in health care, you face a higher risk of being accused of violating the False Claims Act.

Although the federal government watches for these violations across the entire nation, Tampa, Florida is more closely watched by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. This is because Tampa, Florida is one of nine areas in the United States that the government believes has a higher instance of these violations. Tampa, Florida, and its surrounding areas, has a large number of federal health care plan beneficiaries. This large number of beneficiaries means that more claims are filed through CMS. Because of this, the government thinks that there is a statistically higher chance of this violation. The Department of Justice announced in 2016 that they investigated more than 300 cases and recovered more than $900 million in illegally paid out claims.

If you’re being investigated for violating the False Claims Act in Tampa, you’ll be contacted by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. This is a combined team of prosecutors and investigators from several different federal agencies including the IRS, the DEA, DOJ, DOD, FBI, OIG, and the Department of Health and Human Services. However, that list isn’t all-inclusive. There are other federal agencies that can be involved. If you’re contacted by a representative of the federal government who tells you that you’re being investigated about this federal matter, call Oberheiden, P.C. right away to schedule your free and totally confidential consultation.

What You Need to Know About the False Claims Act

The False Claims Act is a federal statute. It applies to any person or business that has a direct or indirect contract with and who will be paid by the federal government on federal health care claims that are filed for reimbursement. It establishes both criminal and civil liability for individuals, contractors, businesses, or organizations that knowingly submit or cause the submission of one or more false claims for the approval of and payment by the federal government.

‘Knowingly’ doesn’t just mean that you had actual knowledge. It means that if you didn’t know that what was happening would violate the False Claims Act, you should have known. This is your due diligence responsibility. For example, if you hire an individual or a company to perform your ICD coding or to help with your billing, it is your legal responsibility to know that they are using the right codes and following the appropriate billing procedures. Even if using the wrong code was just a mistake, you can still be held legally responsible for it.

Civil and Criminal Penalties Under the False Claims Act

Tampa, Florida health care provides, facilities, and businesses that are charged with violating the False Claim act may face serious civil and criminal penalties. Call Oberheiden, P.C. immediately. Once retained, we can get answers to your questions and help you find out whether you are facing civil or criminal charges.

Civil penalties may include one or more of the following:

  • Treble damages – paying the government three times the amount of the original claim
  • Payment of civil fines of up to $11,000 per false claim
  • Recoupment requests
  • Non-payment of future submitted claims
  • Future exclusion from federal health care programs
  • State licensure or disciplinary proceedings
  • Loss of hospital privileges

Criminal penalties may include one or more of the following:

  • Claims that cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars
  • Criminal charges
  • Up to five years in federal prison

How Do Most False Claims Act Investigations Begin in Tampa?

In Tampa, Florida, most False Claims Act investigations are started because a person files a qui tam lawsuit. A qui tam lawsuit is meant to help protect the government from being defrauded. Qui tam is a Latin phrase meaning “he who sues for king and himself.” These lawsuits are incentivized. If the plaintiff is successful, they will receive a portion of the recovered funds. Yet, in Tampa, Florida a qui tam lawsuit is rarely filed with such noble intentions as to protect the government. It is more commonly filed by malcontented former employees and competitors who are resentful over your success.

Qui tam lawsuits against Tampa-area health care providers, facilities, and businesses are filed in the Middle District of Florida federal court. The identity of the plaintiff is sealed. They are only referred to in the documents as the ‘qui tam realtor.’ Unsealed documents are made available only to the presiding judge and involved federal investigators. Since False Claims Act investigations can take a lot of time, extensions are often filed and then granted by the court. This enables the government to have the time they need to conclude their investigation.

You will receive subpoenas for your records. This includes your business, billing, financial, and your communication records. Subpoenas may come from the DOJ, DEA, DOD, IRS, FBI, OIG, or other federal agencies. After receiving your records, the government will review them and determine if they will decline or support the lawsuit. Should the federal government decline to get involved, the lawsuit isn’t necessarily over. The plaintiff can choose to continue the suit. If they win, they’re entitled to 30 percent of the recovered funds. If the government supports the lawsuit, you’ll likely face additional charges. If the lawsuit is successful, the plaintiff will receive 25 percent of the recovered funds.

If you are notified that you’re a named defendant in a qui tam lawsuit, call Oberheiden, P.C. right away. Once retained, we can help defend you from federal charges and, where appropriate, work toward negotiating a settlement with the federal government on your behalf.

Crucial Defenses for Tampa, Florida Clients

Oberheiden, P.C. uses strategic defenses for our clients who are accused of violating the False Claims Act. We also use three crucial defenses that we developed out of our accumulated experience as both former federal health care fraud prosecutors and defense attorneys. We use these crucial defenses throughout the United States.

  1. The first crucial defense is early involvement with the federal government. We’ve learned from experience that the longer the government has to investigate you without interruption, the bigger the risk you’re facing with criminal charges. We get involved early to get answers to the important questions, such as discovering the purpose of the investigation, the charges you may be facing, and how this matter can be resolved. We usually get the answers to these questions within a couple of days after we are retained by our Tampa clients.
  2. Where qui tam lawsuits are involved, we take an aggressive approach. Oberheiden, P.C. knows that it is very rare that a qui tam is filed for legitimate purposes. We review the case and discredit the evidence and the allegations. Our goal with this is to show the federal government that the qui tam lawsuit has no merit and doesn’t deserve its support.
  3. When the federal government indicates that our Tampa clients may be facing civil liability, we negotiate on your behalf. We’ve successfully negotiated original damage amounts to a fraction of the original demand. Also, none of our clients have ever been forced to shut down their practice or business.

Oberheiden, P.C.

Oberheiden, P.C. provides legal representation and assistance to Tampa, Florida nurses, ARNPs, doctors, clinics, hospitals, practice owners, physician-owned businesses, labs, pharmacies, hospice facilities, and other health care businesses accused of violating the False Claims Act, and those that were named as defendants in a qui tam lawsuit. We also assist those being investigating for violating Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute, or involved in Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, or Department of Labor investigations.

Here’s a look at some of our Track Record:

  • 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 Tampa, Florida or the surrounding area and you’re being investigated for violating the False Claims Act, or if you’ve been named as a defendant in a qui tam lawsuit, call Oberheiden, P.C. right away. Initial consultations are always free and totally confidential.

False Claims Act Defense Lawyers Serving Tampa, Florida

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, use our contact form, or send us an email.

1 (888) 727-5159
Oberheiden, P.C.
Serving Tampa, FL and Surrounding Areas
www.criminaldefense.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, P.C. is a Texas firm with headquarters in Dallas. Mr. Oberheiden limits his practice to federal law.

Orange County 714-294-2000
Los Angeles 310-873-8140
Detroit 313-888-8807
Nationwide 888-452-2503