Fresenius Medical Holdings, Inc. Ordered To Pay $19.4 Million

0

Whistleblower lawsuit results in a ruling that Renal Care Group, a dialysis company formerly headquartered in Nashville, must pay $19.4 million plus interest to the United States government after it allegedly set up a shell company in order to inflate its Medicare billing.

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) March 24, 2010 — United States District Court Judge William J. Haynes, Jr. issued an order on March 22, 2010 awarding the United States $19,366,705.00 plus prejudgment interest on unjust enrichment claims against Renal Care Group (“RCG”), RCG Supply Company (“RCGSC”) and Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. as the successor-in-interest to RCG and RCGSC. This award to the United States arises from claims made in a whistleblower complaint alleging fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid billing practices by RCG and RCGSC that violated the False Claims Act.

RCG engaged in a multi-state scheme whereby it created a sham supply company, RCGSC, solely to take advantage of higher reimbursement rates paid for home dialysis supplies under the now defunct Medicare Method II billing program, according to the qui tam Complaint filed on behalf of former RCG employees, Julie Williams and John Martinez, M.D.

This ruling serves as a significant reminder that fraudulent Medicare billing practices are not going to be tolerated. RCG was aware, as evidenced by their own internal communications and documents, that they were attempting to operate ‘above the law.’ Through the persistence and dedication of the government and our clients, the Court has rendered justice RCG’s operations not only took advantage of taxpayers through fraudulent Medicare billing, they also took advantage of the sick and vulnerable nature of their patients using their Medicare beneficiary status to line corporate pockets.

Between January 1999 and December 2005, RCGSC submitted claims for reimbursement to the Medicare program for home dialysis equipment and supplies provided to End-Stage Renal Disease (“ESRD”) patients. All of these claims, as well as related claims for support services rendered by RCG dialysis clinics were ineligible for reimbursement because RCGSC was not qualified to bill Medicare for these home dialysis patients.

According to Eric Young, “RCG’s operation of a bogus supply company in order to artificially increase its Medicare reimbursements came at a great cost to taxpayers. Due to the courageousness of people like Ms. Williams and Dr. Martinez, in addition to the hard work and tenacity of counsel, including federal prosecutors, Andrew Lay and Laurie Oberembt, Fresenius is being held accountable for RCG’s misconduct. It is our hope that this decision will encourage more people who become aware of fraud on the government to step forward, particularly when waste and abuse of our tax dollars is at an all time high.”

In granting judgment for the United States, Judge Haynes found that RCG and RCGSC were unjustly enriched by their receipt of Method II payments for dialysis supplies that RCGSC procured unlawfully. Additionally, the Court found that the supply company itself was not a legitimate supplier of home dialysis supplies. The federal investigation into RCG’s fraudulent billing practices was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri under the direction of acting U.S. Attorney Michael W. Reap, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Lay with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee, under the direction of U.S. Attorney Edward Yarborough, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Rivera, and Laurie Oberembt from the Department of Justice.

United States ex rel. Williams, et al. v. Renal Care Group, et al. Middle District of Tennessee CA No.: 3:09-00738

Whistleblower Client Rewarded Maximum Recovery for Reporting Oil Spill Cover-up

0

As a result of a Whistleblower complaint filed by James Legg of Anchorage, Alaska, on October 23, 2007, Polar Tankers, Inc., a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips, pled guilty to failure to maintain an oil record book aboard the T/V Polar Discovery, an 895 foot crude oil tanker in violation of 33 U.S.C. §1908(a) of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. The statute requires all ships to record all transfers of oil and oily waste occurring on the vessel, including emergency and accidental discharges of oily waste.

As detailed in Mr. Legg’s whistleblower complaint, on January 16, 2004, the crew aboard the T/V Polar Discovery was transferring the oily sludge from the engine room tanks through piping to a holding tank on deck. An open valve caused sludge to spill onto the deck and through the scuppers – holes in the ship that allow water and other liquids to drain off the deck. Instead of reporting the spill, the captain slowed the vessel and turned it away from the wind so that the crew could clean off the oil left on the side of the ship where it had drained through the scuppers. The captain then falsified the bridge logbook by reporting the change of course as a man overboard drill.

The ConocoPhillips’ tanker company has agreed to pay a government fine in the amount of $500,000 as well as make a $2,000,000 contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Court also awarded the whistleblower, James Legg, the maximum reward of 50% of the fine or $250,000 for his efforts in the case.
Mr. Legg, an Engineer aboard the T/V Polar Discovery at the time of the spill, was represented by co-counsel, Brandon J. Lauria.

“Mr. Legg is a courageous and conscientious citizen who reported Polar Tankers’ wrongdoing because it was in the public interest. The Court’s decision to award Mr. Legg with the maximum statutory reward for his efforts is significant because it recognizes the vital role played by whistleblowers in combating acts harmful to our environment,” said Mr. Lauria.

Jim McEldrew on Positive Train Control in the Philadelphia Inquirer

0
car accident lawyer philadelphia

McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt Partner and Railroad Attorney James J. McEldrew, III had his commentary on Positive Train Control published on the Philadelphia Inquirer website today.  The article discusses the need for the automated system mandated by Congress in 2008 to be implemented by Amtrak and other railroads to prevent accidents like the one last night. It’s titled “U.S. railroad’s must adopt ‘train control’ now.”

Eric Young Speaks on Dodd-Frank – CFTC Webinar Panel Tomorrow

0
Personal Injury Lawyers Philadelphia PA

Eric Young will be featured on a panel discussion tomorrow afternoon in a live program entitled, “CFTC’s Financial Market Reform in 2015: Boon or Bane?”, presented by The Knowledge Group.

Breaking Legal News: First IRS Award

0

BLUE BELL, Pa – The IRS Whistleblower Office has paid its first whistleblower reward, more than $4.5 million in the first U.S. tax whistleblower case settled since rewards were mandated by Congress four-and-a-half years ago, whistleblower attorney Eric. L. Young, of Egan Young Attorneys At Law, announced today.

A CPA in-house accountant and auditor who discovered a $20 million-plus tax liability at a large national financial services firm, which the Fortune 500 company then declined to report, was given the third highest category of IRS whistleblower reward under the new law, 22 percent, Young said.

“This groundbreaking IRS $4.5 million reward originated like many of our government fraud whistleblower cases in healthcare, defense contracting, pharmaceutical sales and marketing, and other sectors,” Young explained.

“Our client discovered that the financial services firm was failing to pay taxes but after speaking up was simply ignored. As such, the right thing was done in deciding to report this employer’s tax misconduct to the IRS,” Young said.

For tax and qui tam whistleblowers this case clearly underscores the importance of working with an experienced whistleblower lawyer, Young explained.

Why? Young revealed that his client originally had filed an IRS “Form 211” with the new Whistleblower Office without counsel, known legally as “pro se”.  When more than two years had expired since the original filing and no IRS response had been received after numerous client inquiries, the client reached out to Young, an experienced whistleblower attorney in state and federal courts.

After assessing the client’s case and concluding that it indeed appeared to be in limbo, Young immediately contacted the IRS Whistleblower Office.  He determined that his client had never received a “Claims Number” after the original Form 211 filing.  Assigning this number is only the first step in IRS whistleblower procedure, Young explained.

“In our subsequent contacts with the Whistleblower Office we provided the original case documents and information that fully exposed the financial services firm’s tax misconduct.  We also clearly and convincingly demonstrated to the IRS Whistleblower office how effective our client’s efforts were in advancing this case,” Young said.

“As a result, we believe our efforts enabled our client to earn this enhanced, 22 percent reward in America’s first IRS Whistleblower case under the new program,” Young said.

In Fiscal Years 2007 through 2009, when rewards under Section 7623 were mandated, the IRS Whistleblower Office reported receiving more than 12,000 new cases.  Earlier this year the Whistleblower Office modified its award criteria to allow whistleblower rewards based not just on taxes and penalties received but when improper refunds or credits have helped to offset taxpayer liability.

“It may last only for a short time but it’s nice to know that at this moment Egan Young is the only law firm in the U.S. to help a client win a mandatory IRS Whistleblower reward,” joked Young, who for years has represented whistleblowers in qui tam cases under Federal and State False Claims Acts.

“Since Egan Young will always be the first law firm to help a client win a substantial reward under the IRS Whistleblower progra m we’ve developed a reference microsite for this historic case.  Potential whistleblowers and their attorneys can now visit http://www.First-Tax-Fraud-Reward.com to learn more about this first-ever case,” Young said.

The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 required the IRS to set up a Whistleblower Office by December 2006 and then pay rewards to tax whistleblowers.  Prior to this legislation, now Section 7623 of the Internal Revenue Code, the IRS had the option to pay rewards to individuals it previously referred to as “informants.”

“The IRS and its Whistleblower Office have restrictive confidentiality standards,” said Brandon J. Lauria, an Egan Young attorney who also represented the whistleblower, “and our client welcomes this cloak of anonymity.”  Young and Lauria explained that the client continues work as an in-house CPA and never wants to be known as the source of detailed information that cost the employer more than $20 million, nor will the law firm disclose the taxpayer’s identity.

Throughout the years-long investigation of the whistleblower’s allegations, IRS Large Case Examination never officially revealed to the taxpayer that a whistleblower had provided tax liability information, nor did the company officially learn the client’s name, Young explained.

Somewhere today in the U.S. an anonymous CPA who helped the IRS Whistleblower Office return millions to taxpayers can rest easier knowing that the first-ever mandatory IRS Whistleblower reward was paid because an employer failed to pay its fair share of taxes.

Young thanked Stephen Whitlock, Director of the IRS Whistleblower Office, office analysts, and other professional staff for their outstanding help in working with him and Lauria to bring this first-ever IRS tax whistleblower case under the new program to settlement.

“I don’t envy the daunting challenges Mr. Whitlock faced in starting the IRS Whistleblower Office from scratch, then being inundated with 12,000 Forms 211 filings,” Young said.  “The IRS whistleblower floodgates have opened a tiny bit with our groundbreaking case.  Egan Young looks forward to more tax whistleblower rewards for our clients, as are whistleblower attorneys across the U.S.”

Eric L. Young, Esq. at 215-367-5151; eyoung@young-lawgroup.com

Richard Lavinthal at PRforLAW, LLC 202-596-1176; PRexpert@PRforLAW.com

Additional Information May Be Posted / Linked At

www.First-Tax-Fraud-Reward.com;

www.young-lawgroup.com; or

www.PRforLAW.com

Thanks For Your Hard Work, Brandon!

0

Chicken Skeweres and fruit

On Tuesday, our associate Brandon Lauria received a fruit basket from a client that he helped. It’s the first that he’s been given for his legal work, but we don’t think it will be his last.

In May, Brandon was named a 2014 Pennsylvania Rising Star by Super Lawyers. This is the fourth straight year that he has earned the distinction.

The Rising Stars distinction recognizes the top up-and-coming attorneys in Pennsylvania. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the eligible lawyers in PA receive this honor. The category is limited to attorneys who have been practicing 10 years or less, and are 40 years old or younger. Super Lawyers appoints outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of professional achievement and peer recognition.

Congrats, Brandon!

Press Releases

0

Press Releases

We Represents Fresenius Whistleblower: Judge Orders Defendant to Pay $82 million

Thursday, 26 May 2011 23:47

Philadelphia, PA, May 26, 2011 – Egan Young, Attorneys-at-Law, has announced that United States District Judge William J. Haynes, Jr., awarded over $82 million to the United States government as the result of a qui tam case filed by Egan Young clients Julie Williams and Dr. John Martinez.(United States ex rel. Williams, et al. v. Renal Care Group, et al. Middle District of Tennessee CA No.: 3:09-00738). Egan Young Managing Partner, Eric L. Young, Esquire, stated that today’s decision resulted from the Court’s imposition of treble damages and statutory penalties pursuant to the False Claim Act in the wake of an earlier judgment against the defendants which totaled more than $19 million.

The case involved fraudulent Method II billing for dialysis patients by Renal Care Group (“RCG”), RCG Supply Company (“RCGSC”) and Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. as the successor-in-interest to RCG and RCGSC. As previously reported, the qui tam Complaint originally filed by Egan Young’s clients in 2005 alleged that RCG engaged in a multi-state scheme whereby it created a sham supply company, RCGSC, solely to take advantage of higher reimbursement rates paid for home dialysis supplies under the now defunct Medicare Method II billing program.

In upholding his earlier decision, Judge Haynes held that the defendants violated the False Claims Act by creating and operating a sham supplier of home dialysis supplies which resulted in substantial overpayments by Medicare to Renal Care Group, Inc.In doing so, Judge Haynes not only trebled the damages, but imposed statutory penalties at the maximum amount of $11,000 for each false claim submitted.The federal investigation into RCG’s fraudulent billing practices resulted from a qui tam complaint filed by Eric L. Young, Esquire, on behalf of former RCG administrator, Julie Williams, and nephrologist, Dr. John Martinez.

The prosecution of the case was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri under the direction of Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Lay with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee, under the direction of Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Rivera, and Laurie Oberembt and John Henebery from the Department of Justice.

DENVER HEALTH & HOSPITAL AUTHORITY TO PAY $6.2 MIL

0

DENVER HEALTH & HOSPITAL AUTHORITY TO PAY $6.2 MILLION TO SETTLE CLAIMS THAT IT OVERBILLED MEDICARE AND MEDICAID

Philadelphia, PA, January 5, 2012– Egan Young, Attorneys-at-Law, is pleased to announce that Denver Health and Hospital Authority (“DHHA”) has agreed to pay $6.3 million to settle allegations that the DHHA submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid by improperly submitting claims for short hospital stays as though they were “inpatient” stays when they should have been billed as less expensive “outpatient” or “observation” stays. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado and is captioned U.S. ex rel. Joanne Curren v. Denver Health & Hospital Authority, 09-CV-01752.

The qui tam suit was filed in 2009 pursuant to the False Claims Act, by Joanne Curren, a former DHHA employee. The False Claims Act is a law that enables private citizens (“whistleblowers”) with original information of fraud against the United States to file lawsuits on the government’s behalf.As an incentive for coming forward, whistleblowers are rewarded with a percentage of the government’s recovery.

Ms. Curren alleged that, as a result of the improper inpatient classifications, DHHA submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid in violation of the False Claims Act.Ms. Curren also asserted that she was retaliated against for having voiced her concerns about improper billings to her superiors.In fact, shortly after having internally reported her concerns, Ms. Curren’s employment was terminated.

The prosecution of the case was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado under the direction of Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcy E. Cook and the Attorney General’s Office for the State of Colorado under the direction of First Assistant Attorney General Timothy X. Sokas.In consideration of having brought the allegations to the government’s attention as she did, the settlement provides that Ms. Curren shall receive a reward under the False Claims Act totaling over $800,000.00.

Relator Curren was represented by Eric L. Young, Esquire, of Egan Young, Attorneys-at-Law, a law firm dedicated to representing whistleblowers.Mr. Young stated, “My hat goes off to AUSA Marcy Cook who did an outstanding job of investigating the detailed allegations against DHHA and in maximizing the financial recovery for the benefit of the government and taxpayers”.Mr. Young was assisted on this case by Brandon J. Lauria, Esquire.

 

Young Law Group, P.C., Attorneys-at-Law, represents whistleblowers nationwide. For a free confidential consultation, please call Eric L. Young, Esquire at 1-800-590-4116 or email to eyoung@young-lawgroup.com.

 

EY files Class Action Complaint

0

PHILADELPHIA – Feb. 26, 2010 – EGAN YOUNG filed a class action lawsuit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of current and former Sunoco employees alleging violations of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act of 1968.The case alleges that Sunoco, Inc., a Philadelphia-based company, has failed to pay all wages and overtime owed for approximately 600 of its hourly operations and maintenance employees at the company’s Philadelphia refinery.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that Sunoco fails to compensate hourly refinery employees for work-related activities performed prior to clocking in, and after clocking out.In order to perform the essential duties of their jobs, Plaintiffs are required to; don and doff personal protection equipment; obtain and/or store tools; travel to and from assigned work sites; prepare and clean work equipment; and, engage in required shift change briefings between co-workers.

Plaintiffs’ attorney, Eric L. Young, stated that, “After a thorough investigation, it was evident that Sunoco’s workers were not and presently are not paid for all required pre-operations and post-operations activities that are necessary and integral to their overall employment responsibilities.Through this suit, we intend to make right Sunoco’s wrong.”

For more information about the lawsuit contact Eric L. Young or Brandon J. Lauria at (215) 367-5151.

YLG Beefs Up Its Wage and Hour Practice

0

With the down turn in the economy over the last several years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of employers who are violating federal and state overtime and other wage protections. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that due to the increase in these violations, that it was successful in obtaining additional funding for enforcement purposes. While additional government investigations and enforcement are welcome it is not enough.

In an effort to provide additional support and expertise to our clients who have been deprived of payment of all wages for hours worked, YLG recently added former DOL Wage and Hour enforcement specialist, Timothy Dronson, Esquire, to the team. While with the DOL, Mr. Dronson fought for employees through the United States and enforced a number of federal laws including, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, and the Service Contract Act.

Mr. Dronson investigated and prosecuted a number of actions while with the DOL involving both large and small companies alike. He is intimately familiar with the methods employers use to avoid paying wages and overtime for all time worked and looks forward to working with YLG attorneys to provide quality representation to those in need.

Call Now ButtonCall Now