Articles Posted in False Claims

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justice-scales-gavel-fb.jpegChoosing a good lawyer to help you with a case, such as wrongful death, contract dispute, employment termination; asset forfeiture, and excessive force, can be very difficult.

Many blog posts advise you to make sure that (1) you feel comfortable with the lawyer you choose and that (2) the lawyer you choose has sound experience and understanding in the area you need representation in. While all that is true, there is one area that also demonstrates the quality of representation you will be obtaining to handle your case: your lawyer’s willingness and ability to handle an appeal of your case in front of a higher court.

Foremost, you may not read a lot of blog posts that talk about handling an appeal of your case in front of higher courts, because that means something may have went wrong with your case in the lower court. But here’s the reality: when you are going up against cities, school districts; law enforcement officials; public officials; big corporations; and hospitals–whether you win or lose at the lower court (trial court), one party is going to appeal, or threaten to appeal the loss, to the higher court (Appeals Court).

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Years without accountability for big corporations, banks, and Wall Street resulted in the greatest financial crisis since the 1930’s Depression. Eight million jobs were lost,
the housing market plummeted, businesses went bankrupt, and millions lost their personal savings and retirements. Consequently, more and more people have become aware of the devastating impact corporate fraud can create on the economy and individual Americans.

As a result, studies show that a greater number of employees are willing to become whistleblowers: turning in their employer for corruption, fraud, and wrongdoing. One of the motivating factors prompting employees to come forward is the incentive of financial reward that is paid out to whistleblowers who report false claims.

According to the federal government, there has been a spike in whistleblower cases filed with the U.S. government since 2005. Americans have become more exposed to the enormous corporate scandals involving subprime mortgage lenders, Bernie Madoff, or Enron–where the entire company has fallen apart and destroyed thousands of employees and shareholders’ financial futures, gravely impacting the economy. Consequently, there is a greater awareness concerning the importance of blowing the whistle on corporate fraud.

For example, just last week the federal government ordered Bank of America to pay a whistleblower close to a million dollars in interest and back wages and was required to reinstate an employee who showed great courage in reporting fraud and standing up against it.

This is a positive trend that will in turn protect consumers, employees, and hopefully help prevent future scandals from causing such devastating impact. Nevertheless, corporations fear such results. And now, a new law–the Dodd Frank Financial Reform law–has been implemented providing monetary rewards for whistleblowers who report financial fraud.

Good Georgia Lawyer represents whistleblowers in qui tam or false claims whistleblower actions. We encourage you to read here to learn more.
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whistleblower.JPGGood Georgia Lawyer represents whistleblower employees who “blow the whistle” on their employer when they come forward with information that their employer is defrauding the government by violating the Federal False Claims Act. Federal prosecutors report that they have added two new health care fraud teams this year and studies say that this might provide an 85 percent increase in the number of health care fraud prosecutions in 2011 compared to 2010.

Thus far, 903 prosecutions for health fraud have ben reported so far this year of 2011. This is actually a a 24% increase from last year’s total in 2010.

The recent past two year debate about health care reform has drawn the spotlight on the problem of health care fraud and its effect on the cost of health care. The Department of Justice reports that convictions have increased, so far there has been 24 trial convictions for fraud in Medicare compared to 23 last year.

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MB900383616.JPGYesterday, the Department of Justice and four states filed a multibillion-dollar fraud suit against EMC, the Education Management Corporation, known as the nation’s second-largest for-profit college company. The states joining in the suit are California, Florida, Illinois and Indiana. The suit filed that EMC was not eligible for the $11 billion in state and federal financial aid it obtained from the United States government from 2003 through 2011.

The CEO of EMC was previously the head of the University of Phoenix, which has settled suits in the past related to very similar behavior.

While the civil lawsuit is one of many charging the ever growing for profit college industry, the case is the first where the U.S. government agreed to intervene on the whistle-blowers’ claims that they consistently violated federal law by paying recruiters based on how many students it enrolled. The lawsuit alleged that each year, the for profit company falsely certified that it complied with the law, making it eligible to receive student financial aid.

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Thumbnail image for doctorinhandcuffs.jpgWhat should you do when you learn secret information that your employer is stealing from, lying to, and cheating the federal or state government? This is a question that many prospective clients encounter on the job. The best answer when faced with this question is that you should immediately seek confidential legal counsel from a whistleblower lawyer because your employer’s illegal behavior may very likely constitute a violation of the False Claims Act.

Examples of the False Claims Act can include:

1. Medicaid or Medicare fraud: This is when doctors, hospitals, or pharmacies seek and receive reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid funds. Oftentimes they may be billing for services not rendered, or misrepresenting services or goods, or even providing defective goods or services.