DOJ Turns Tables On A “Shell” Whistleblower

By on March 7, 2019

March 7, 2019

What typically happens in a False Claims Act case is that a whistleblower – a relator in FCA terminology – comes to DOJ alleging some action or policy is ripping off the government. If the Justice Department thinks there is a case it pursues it, and if it’s successful it splits the take – essentially a bounty – with the whistleblower. If it doesn’t take the case, DOJ does allow the relator to pursue the case on its own. It’s a well-worn ritual, so when some chain of events deviates, it’s news, and when that deviation takes the form of the government dismissing the case and also casting aspersions on the relator, it’s bigger news. That’s what happened in the case of Health Choice Group. Or rather, plural, cases – eleven of them. It’s part of what Reuters reporter Alision Frankel calls a “marquee fight” between DOJ and what the DOJ is calling a shell company that is controlled by “investors and former Wall Street investment bankers.” According to DOJ, Health Choice is a subsidiary of a company whose modus operandi involves duping healthcare employees into interviews by claiming the interviews are part of a research study, instead of disclosing they are part of an attempt to lay the groundwork for a False Claims Act lawsuit. Health Choice responds that the accuracy of its record “is not genuinely disputed” and that the government’s “agreement or disagreement with relator’s research methodology (or business model) is immaterial. Suffice it to say that, over the last few years, the government has intervened and recovered millions for taxpayers in multiple qui tam lawsuits involving healthcare fraud that was uncovered – by NHCA affiliates – through the same standard research methodology.”

Read the full article at:

Reuters

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