Federal Fraud Defense Attorneys Discuss OIG Subpoenas
How to Respond to OIG Subpoenas
OIG subpoenas are subpoenas issued by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Inspector General to investigate health care fraud allegations without the involvement of a court. The underlying fraud allegations are typically a violation of the False Claims Act, Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud, Tricare Fraud, or a violation of the Stark Law.
The Goals of Defending OIG Subpoenas
In each case in which our firm is involved in defending OIG subpoenas, we have five goals that we want to establish:
- No criminal investigation
- Keeping the investigation confidential
- Protecting your business and your good name
- Resolving the request through our channels of communication
- Negotiating a fair outcome
In order to keep the investigation civil and not criminal, it is critical to have experienced defense counsel, such as our former federal health care prosecutors, to be by your side and resolve the allegations by way of confidential and discreet negotiations with the government.
What Prompts an OIG Subpoena?
To many people, receiving a subpoena from the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of the Inspector General comes as a big shock. OIG subpoenas are typically triggered by one of two events. The most common reason your business will receive an OIG subpoena is because an insider such as a former or current employee or business partner has represented to the government facts and information that the government considers credible enough to look into your business operations. This reporting by an insider such as a former employee is often done by way of filing a qui tam, also known as a whistleblower lawsuit, against your business. The second reason the government becomes interested in your business operations is by investigations conducted by federal agents.
What Do I Need to Do?
First and foremost, you need to hire experienced defense counsel to assess the subpoena request and the merits of the government’s case. Among the very first steps we take in OIG subpoena cases is to find out for our clients whether or not the case is civil or criminal in nature. OIG subpoenas do not explain if the government is seeking civil penalties or criminal indictments. If we are engaged, we will activate our EMERGENCY DEFENSE PACKAGE to make sure that your business and your name continue to enjoy its reputation.
What is the Emergency Defense Package?
The EMERGENCY DEFENSE PACKAGE is an action plan that we apply whenever a client is the target of a government investigation to avoid criminal charges. Years of experience have shown that too many mistakes are being made in the early stage of a case because business owners attempt to defend their business against the government by themselves. In all of these cases, business owners hurt their business more than they protect it.
When we take over, we activate a number of mechanisms that will prepare your business adequately and instantly to respond to a government investigation. Among those protocols are:
- Competent Analysis by Former Prosecutors
- Immediate Action Plan
- Document Preservation Notices
- Establishing Channels of Communication with the Government
- Showing the Government Your “Good Intent” to Defeat Criminal Charges
- What prompts an OIG subpoena?
In many cases, disgruntled former employees reported alleged misconduct that led the government to investigate the allegations.
- What documents are requested in OIG subpoenas?
OIG subpoenas typically request documents about business structure, billing records, financials, marketing materials, existing legal opinions, and email communications between senior company officials.
- What happens if I don't respond?
OIG subpoenas can be enforced by federal prosecutors at the Department of Justice. Not responding to an OIG subpoena may result in contempt of court and criminal investigations.
- How do I know if the subpoena is civil or criminal?
By its nature, OIG subpoenas are administrative, and it is not evident from the subpoena itself whether the underlying investigation is civil or criminal.
- What is the goal of an OIG subpoena?
The OIG wants to receive and review records that they consider helpful evidence to prove the underlying allegations.
- Do I have to produce everything in the subpoena?
It is not uncommon that OIG subpoenas request a large number of documents and emails over a period of many years. Experienced lawyers know and understand how to work out a compromise with the government.
- What is the jurisdiction of OIG health care subpoenas?
Because the OIG is a branch of the federal government, all OIG investigations necessarily deal with alleged federal program fraud.
- What are the most common fraud allegations in OIG subpoenas?
OIG subpoenas are based on Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare fraud, violations of Stark Law Provisions, violations of the Department of Labor policies and rules, or more broadly, violations of the False Claims Act.
- What is the False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act makes it illegal to submit wrong, false, incorrect, or erroneous requests for reimbursement to federal payers such as Medicare and Medicaid.
- What are the penalties under The False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act is a hybrid statute that allows the government to collect civil penalties or to initiate a federal criminal investigation.
- Which federal agency investigates health care fraud?
Depending on the underlying allegations, agents of the U.S. Postal Service, the FBI, or the DEA may be helping the OIG with its investigation.
The Oberheiden Law Group, PLLC appears in governmental investigations across the country. Our defense attorneys have obtained no civil or criminal liability outcomes for their clients and were able to dismiss health care fraud investigations involving the following government agencies, among many others.
- Successful defense of a health care services company against an investigation by the Office of Inspector General for Medicare Fraud
- Successful defense of health care company against investigations by the Department of Justice for alleged Health Care Fraud
- Successful defense of health care company against an investigation by the Office of Inspector General for alleged False Claims Act and Medicare violations
- Successful defense of a health care company against an investigation by the Office of Inspector General and Department of Health and Human Services
- Successful defense of a health care company against an investigation by the Office of Inspector General and the Department of Justice for alleged Medicare Fraud
- Successful defense of a physician owned entity against an investigation by the Office of Inspector General for alleged False Claims Act violations
- Successful defense of a physician owned entity against an investigation by the Office of Inspector General for alleged fraud
Contact our offices today to discuss your OIG subpoena with an experienced fraud defense attorney. We are here to help you.