Former federal prosecutors
offering unparalleled knowledge and a proven track record


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Oberheiden Attorneys

OIG Subpoenas Legal Defense Team Serving the Detroit Area

Michigan Office
615 Griswold Street, Suite 700
Detroit, MI 48226
313-888-8807
(Meeting location by appointment only)

The Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP has significant experience in advising clients in connection with subpoenas issued by the Office of Inspector General (OIG). Our clients are represented by health care fraud defense attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden.

Detroit OIG Investigations

Detroit is one of only nine U.S. cities that hosts special federal task forces to prosecute health care fraud. Health care providers and businesses in Detroit need to understand that health care investigations in Detroit are more aggressive than elsewhere and led by the elite Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT). HEAT is a coordinated federal task force composed of Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Offices of the Inspector General (OIGs), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and others.

What to Do When You Receive an OIG Subpoena

Many health care providers first learn that they have possibly done something wrong when they receive a subpoena from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Inspector General (OIG), a branch of the Department of Justice tasked to investigate health care fraud. Either through mail or through personal delivery by two agents at the provider’s office, OIG subpoenas obligate targeted businesses to produce specified records such as corporate documents, financial summaries, and e-mail communications. In Detroit, OIG subpoenas are most commonly served in the following health care sectors:

  • Hospice & Home Health Care Centers
  • Pharmacies & Compound Pharmacies
  • Hospitals & Surgery Centers
  • DME Providers
  • Toxicology & DNA Laboratories
  • Large Physician Groups
  • Health care Executives
  • Medical Marketing Groups

What makes OIG subpoenas particularly dangerous is that the request does not specify whether the underlying investigation is civil or criminal in nature—a threshold issue that significantly impacts the defense strategy. Although experienced attorneys are often able to decode and read between the lines, full clarity will only derive from opening a dialogue with the agents and prosecutors on the case. Within the first hours of our engagement, the attorneys of Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP aim at providing answers to the following questions: What is the case about? Is the investigation civil or criminal? What is the government’s goal? What is our defense strategy? What is a potential outcome for this case? Most OIG investigations in Detroit center around the following alleged violations.

  • Medicare & Medicaid Fraud
  • Anti-Kickback Statute
  • False Claims Act
  • Stark Law (Self-Referrals)
  • HIPAA Compliance
  • DEA and Prescription Issues
  • Certifications of Medical Necessity
  • Billing Errors and Overbilling
  • Overutilization of Services and Equipment

If your practice or your business received an OIG subpoena, you should request a free and confidential consultation with one of our former Department of Justice health care prosecutors and experienced defense counsel. We have handled hundreds of OIG subpoenas throughout our careers and can advise you on the right steps to take to protect your business.

Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing with the OIG

If you have received an OIG subpoena or were contacted by federal agents, you should immediately reach out to an attorney familiar with OIG investigations and health care fraud defense. Many OIG investigations start rather harmless and undramatic, but from our experience as former prosecutors we have seen how a poorly prepared response or a bad advice on the production of requested documents may turn an OIG subpoena into a severe criminal matter. Specifically, we caution against the following three mistakes in connection with government subpoenas.

  • Do Not Ignore. Do not disregard or underestimate a government subpoena. Even if you don’t consider yourself a responsible person or a party to the underlying case, you have a legal obligation to respond accurately and completely. Federal courts can and will enforce subpoenas and there is zero advantage of being held in contempt of court.
  • Do Not Destroy. Businesses that receive a government subpoena should invoke a “Document Preservation Notice” to signal the government that the business and its officers, directors, executives, and employees will refrain from destroying, tampering with, or altering any documents or devices that may contain responsive materials to the subpoena. Note that the destruction of documents while under expected or actual subpoena may trigger obstruction of justice charges.
  • Do Not Volunteer Information. Some people have a tendency to overproduce and unnecessarily volunteer information to the government. The art of handling a government subpoena is to be responsive, but at the same time reticent. Information disclosed cannot be undone and experienced attorneys will make sure that privileged or incriminating information, or otherwise protected records will be filtered and withheld.

Choosing the Right Defense Lawyer

Health care investigations are highly complex proceedings that require a profound understanding of the underlying health care regulations as well as superb negotiation and trial experience. You need attorneys that vigorously defend you and that have the skills to convince the government, the media, and the public that you did not do anything wrong.

When it comes to picking an OIG defense attorney, health care business owners and medical professionals should look for three criteria.

  • First, expect your attorney to master every aspect of health care regulations. When your business is under attack, you simply don’t have time to explain your industry and its billing, coding, or certification rules to a lawyer. Federal agents are highly trained and when it comes to health care fraud negotiations, they know exactly if the defense attorney makes meaningful contributions or simply plays tough guy. Don’t hire an attorney that the prosecutor does not respect.
  • Second, your attorney must have specific experience in responding to OIG subpoenas and navigating a business through a federal health care audit or investigation. OIG investigations are extremely complex and mistakes can quickly lead to criminal prosecutions. The best DUI attorney in the world may not be the OIG defense lawyer that can save your business
  • Third, insist on a track record. Ask specific questions, such as: How many OIG Investigations has your firm handled so far? What percentage of those OIG Investigations that your firm handled resulted in no civil and no criminal liability outcomes for the client?

Our Proven Defense Strategies

What shapes the national health care fraud defense reputation of Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP are our experience and our track record. Throughout our careers, we have handled over 1,000 health care investigations and tried more than 200 criminal cases in court. Many of our attorneys were previously in charge of health care audits and fraud investigations at the Department of Justice and they now offer their valuable insights and contacts with our clients.  Our attorneys can assist you throughout the process of responding to an OIG subpoena, as follows.

  • Collect. The first step in answering an OIG subpoena is collecting the responsive information.  Our attorneys will immediately establish a dialogue with the prosecutor leading the investigation to get clarity on the government’s goal of the audit. Doing so is critical because the strategy to respond to the subpoena changes dramatically if the initial conversation with the government suggests that the case is part of a criminal matter. Based on the information we receive, we will assist in collecting and filtering information to be produced. If needed, we will make sure our clients get an extension.
  • Review. Not all responsive documents are appropriate for production; our attorneys will carefully review your document production not only for completeness, but also to ensure that privileged documents under the attorney-client-privilege and other protected information will not be disclosed. As former prosecutors we know how important it is to be careful when it comes to sharing documents with the government and our team follows a conservative, protective approach in each case.
  • Produce. Finally, we will appropriately organize relevant documents and present responsive records to the prosecutor. During the entire collection and production period, we will maintain communications with the government in an effort to avoid production and to settle the matter promptly.

Our Track Record

Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP clients range from individual providers to entire health care systems. We represent clients in Detroit who are under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), Detroit and Michigan law enforcement, or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We accomplished the following case outcomes for our clients in recent OIG investigations.

  • OIG Investigation against a Physician Group for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Physician Group for Alleged Tricare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Defense and FBI.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Physician Group for Alleged Medicaid Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Toxicology Laboratory for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Toxicology Laboratory for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Justice and FBI.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Toxicology Laboratory for Alleged Tricare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Defense and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Toxicology Laboratory for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Justice and FBI.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Device Manufacturer for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a DME Company for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Pharmacy for Alleged Federal Workers’ Compensation Fraud; Involvement of Department of Labor and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Pharmacy for Alleged Tricare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Laboratory for Alleged Federal Workers’ Compensation Fraud; Involvement of Department of Labor and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Physician Group for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.
  • OIG Investigation against a Physician Owned Service Group for Alleged Medicare Fraud; Involvement of Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice.
    Result: No civil or criminal liability.

OIG Defense Attorneys Serving Detroit

Nick OberheidenNick Oberheiden is a Harvard-trained and internationally educated health care fraud defense attorney. Nick has successfully represented health care executives, business owners, public officials, physicians, and lawyers in high profile prosecutions, scores of political corruption, government investigations, and media campaigns, including 60 Minutes. He is most known for stopping federal investigations before criminal charges can be filed. In addition to his health care defense practice, Nick leads internal investigations, implements corporate compliance programs, and teaches U.S. criminal law and federal litigation in the United States and abroad.

Lynette ByrdLynette S. Byrd is a former Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA). Clients greatly benefit from Lynette’s experience from the Department of Justice, where she prosecuted health care fraud, Anti-Kickback violations, False Claims Act, and Stark violations on behalf of the United States. Lynette has immense experience with health care law enforcement and she regularly argues federal matters for her clients.

We are available to discuss your case. You can call us directly or complete our contact form or by emailing us directly.

313-888-8807
Including Weekends
Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP
Serving Detroit, Michigan 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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