We are a team of
former federal prosecutors


Meet the Team
Oberheiden Attorneys

False Claims Act & Qui Tam Defense Attorneys Serving the Dallas Area

3131 McKinney Ave #600
Dallas, TX 75204
800-810-0259
(Meeting location by appointment only)

The Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP is a health care law defense firm with significant experience in the areas of regulatory compliance, corporate structuring, litigation, government investigations, and criminal defense. Among our attorneys are the former Chief Health Care Fraud Coordinator at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, former senior Department of Justice trial attorneys, former lead prosecutors of the elite Medicare Fraud Strike Force, and other talented attorneys with years of relevant experience and education from the country’s best schools such as Harvard Law School and Yale Law School. Our attorneys serve clients in Dallas as well as throughout Texas.

Led by firm founder Dr. Nick Oberheiden and former federal prosecutor Lynnette Byrd, Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP’s nationally recognized Health Care Fraud Defense Group brings decades of experience to defending clients in False Claims Act cases in Dallas, TX. If you are facing a federal investigation or qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act, you need to take your situation extremely seriously. We have a long track record of successfully defending clients in federal cases, regularly securing outcomes of no civil or criminal responsibility.

Health Care Providers in Dallas are Targets for False Claims Act Investigations

Dallas is one of only nine cities nationwide that is home to a team from the federal government’s elite HEAT prosecution task force. The Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) is composed of prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other federal agencies. HEAT’s directive is to suspected False Claims Act violations involving Medicare, and its prosecutors are aggressively pursuing both civil and criminal penalties against individuals and companies across Dallas’s health care industry.

The False Claims Act: Violations, Penalties, and Qui Tam Litigation

What Constitutes a Violation of the False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act prohibits individuals and businesses that directly or indirectly contract with and receive payment from the United States government by submitting false and fraudulent claims. It imposes civil and criminal penalties for any person or company that “knowingly” submits (or causes to be submitted) any false or fraudulent claim in order to receive money under a federal contract or a federal benefit program (such as Medicare, Medicare, or Tricare).

However, in order to “knowingly” submit a false or fraudulent claim, you do not actually have to know that it was false or fraudulent. As the target of an investigation, this is critically important to understand. While the False Claims Act imposes penalties when a person or company has actual knowledge that a false claim has been submitted, it also imposes penalties for any person or entity that fails to conduct the necessary due diligence to avoid submitting a false or fraudulent claim. For example, if you use an obsolete (false) code after a change in the Medicare billing codes, the government may seek penalties under the False Claims Act based upon the fact that you “should have known” about the change and used the proper code.

How Serious are the Penalties for Violating the False Claims Act?

As noted above, violations of the False Claims Act can result in both civil and criminal penalties. This means possible prison time. The standard penalties for False Claims Act violations are as follows:

Civil Liability

Triple damages and a penalty of up to $11,000 per false claim.

Criminal Liability (18 U.S.C. § 287)

Criminal penalties can apply if the government alleges that you intentionally presented a false claim. Criminal penalties under the False Claims Act include up to five years of federal imprisonment and fines of:

  • Felony False Claims Act Violations: $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for companies
  • Misdemeanor False Claims Act Violations: $100,000 for individuals or $200,000 for companies

As with civil penalties, criminal fines for False Claims Act violations apply for each individual fraudulent claim.

What Is a Qui Tam Lawsuit?

In Dallas, most False Claims Act investigations are not initiated by the government, but instead by disgruntled former employees or competitors. The False Claims Act contains a provision that allows a private citizen (called a “relator”) to file a “qui tam” lawsuit, which simply means a lawsuit to recover monies owed filed on behalf of the United States government. In order to initiate a qui tam action, all that is required is an allegation that an individual or business has defrauded the federal government (see 31 U.S.C. § 3729). There are five primary stages to a qui tam lawsuit filed in Dallas, TX:

1. Qui Tam Complaint

The lawsuit begins when a qui tam relator files a complaint under the False Claims Act with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. To protect relators’ anonymity, all qui tam complaints are filed under seal. Copies of the non-public complaint will be made available to the assigned judge and select government officials, but not to the defendants in the lawsuit. If requested by the relator, the complaint will be kept confidential until after the government has had the opportunity to conduct an investigation.

2. Government Investigation

The government reviews all qui tam complaints. If a relator’s claims are unsubstantiated, the complaint will be rejected. However, if the complaint appears to be based on evidence that supports a possible violation, federal prosecutors may choose to investigate with the help of the FBI, the DEA, the OIG, and other agencies. Investigations in qui tam cases are typically done through subpoenas requiring production of corporate, financial, billing, business, and communications records.

3. Government Intervention

Upon reviewing the subpoenaed records and following initial negotiations with the defendant’s attorneys, the government must decide whether it will intervene or let the realtor continue to pursue the qui tam action independently. If the government chooses to intervene (which requires approval from the Department of Justice (DOJ) headquarters in Washington D.C.), the attorneys from the DOJ will typically amend the complaint to include causes of action for violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Truth in Negotiation Act, and other federal laws.

4. Case Settlement Negotiations

While the investigation is pending, the federal prosecutors assigned to the case will be engaging in settlement negotiations with the defendant’s attorneys. However, qui tam matters are rarely resolved quickly. Depending on the nature of the allegations, it can could several months for the government to evaluate a relator’s allegations (and much longer before the case is resolved).

5. Liability and Relator Compensation

In a successful qui tam lawsuit, defendants can be ordered to pay as much as three times the government’s losses, plus penalties of up to $11,000 per false claim. In many cases, this can add up to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in liability. The relator will receive up to 25 percent of the amount collected if the government intervened in the litigation, or up to 30 percent if the relator pursued the claim independently.

Defending Against Allegations Under the False Claims Act

The attorneys in our Health Care Fraud Defense Group use a number of proven strategies for defending clients in qui tam lawsuits and False Claims Act investigations. Convincing the government not to pursue charges requires advanced negotiation skills, deep industry knowledge, and a willingness to take swift and aggressive action when necessary. In every False Claims Act case we handle, we zero in on three key priorities:

  • No Criminal Charges. When you retain us to represent you, our top priority will be ensuring that you avoid criminal charges. This will keep prison time off of the table, and will allow us to center our defense strategy on challenging the government’s claims for civil liability.
  • No Government Intervention. In qui tam cases, we aggressively confront relators, challenge their alleged evidence, and investigate to find evidence that will destroy their credibility. False Claims Act cases often arise out claims asserted by ex-employees and competitors with disingenuous motives, and taking this aggressive approach from the outset of the case can be crucial to convincing the government that the relator’s accusations are unsubstantiated and do not justify federal intervention.
  • Favorable Settlement. When there is evidence to support the government’s allegations of civil liability, we will seek to negotiate a favorable settlement that is a fraction of the government’s initial demand. To date, not a single client has been forced to cease operations or close their business as a result of a False Claims Act settlement that we secured on their behalf.

Why Choose Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP?

Located in Dallas, TX, the experienced defense attorneys and former federal prosecutors in our Health Care Fraud Defense Group have successfully defended physicians, practice owners, physician-owned entities, toxicology laboratories, medical device companies, pharmacies, service management organizations, health care marketing companies, hospitals, and many others in federal cases in Dallas and nationwide. We offer health care industry insights that few other firms can match, and with our unique team approach, our clients benefit of all of our attorneys’ collective experience in False Claims Act and other federal investigations.

To speak with the attorneys in our Health Care Fraud Defense Group about your case, contact Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP and request your free case evaluation today.

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.

False Claims Act Defense Attorneys Serving Dallas, TX

Nick OberheidenDr. Nick Oberheiden, founder of Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP, holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in law, and has trained in negotiation at Harvard Law School. A respected health care fraud defense lawyer, he has represented clients in Office of Inspector General (OIG), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Labor (DOL), and other federal agency investigations involving allegations of illegal kickbacks, False Claims Act violations, Medicare fraud, Tricare fraud, and Stark Law violations nationwide.

Lynette ByrdLynette S. Byrd is a former Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) for the Northern District of Texas. Clients of Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP greatly benefit from Ms. Byrd’s experience in the Department of Justice, where she became intimately familiar False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark Law and other health care fraud matters. Today, she brings a wealth of insights and experience to defending clients in Texas and nationwide.

We are available to discuss your case. Call us directly or complete our contact form to schedule your free, confidential case evaluation today.

800-810-0259
Including Weekends
Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP
Serving Dallas, Texas and Surrounding Areas
www.federal-lawyer.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 & McMurrey, LLP is a Texas LLP with headquarters in Dallas. Mr. Oberheiden limits his practice to federal law.

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