Detroit Healthcare Fraud Defense Lawyers
500 Griswold St #2450
Detroit, MI 48226
(Meeting location by appointment only)
Oberheiden, P.C. serves clients in Detroit, Michigan to defend allegations of healthcare fraud. Our Healthcare Fraud Defense Team is headed by Dr. Nick Oberheiden, a healthcare fraud defense attorney with significant national experience. Our team can assist with:
- OIG & Grand Jury Subpoenas
- Medicare & Tricare Audits
- Defending Fraud Allegations
- Internal Investigations
- Compliance Programs
- Qui Tam Defense
- Asset Protection
- Federal criminal defense attorney
- Jury Trials
Clients interested in discussing their situations should speak directly to managing partner Dr. Nick Oberheiden. If your case is an emergency, you should not hesitate to call our Detroit healthcare fraud defense attorney immediately, including on weekends. All calls are free and confidential.
Healthcare Fraud Investigations in Detroit
Detroit is one of only nine U.S. cities in which the federal government has established special task forces to monitor, investigate, and prosecute Medicare Fraud. Healthcare practitioners and businesses in Detroit must be aware that government prosecutions in Detroit are more aggressive and significantly more frequent than in other communities and spearheaded by the elite Healthcare Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT). HEAT is a coordinated federal task force composed of prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and others.
Healthcare Fraud Explained
Federal healthcare fraud describes an attempt or act to obtain money or other items of value from a government program such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, or federal workers’ compensation (DOL) through false and fraudulent representations.
- Anti-Kickback Violations. Healthcare laws prohibit any form of remuneration in exchange for referrals. Any person— that includes physicians, marketers, business owners—may be subject to healthcare fraud prosecution for offering or paying monies or other valuables in return for a patient referral.
- Stark Law: Stark Law prohibits physicians to refer patients to designated health services entities, in which the physicians (or an immediate family member) have an ownership or an investment interest or with which the physician has a compensation arrangement—unless one of the statutory exceptions applies.
- False Claims Act Violations. Any time a provider submits a claim to Medicare, the federal False Claims Act applies. If the bill submitted is incorrect, even if unintentional, the statute’s draconian civil penalties kick in. In more egregious cases, the government can also investigate incorrect billing schemes under the criminal provisions of the False Claims Act.
- Prescription Fraud. The government scrutinizes physician practices with unusually high volumes of narcotic prescriptions. In particular, doctors suspected of running “pill mills” may be investigated for insurance fraud and violations of DEA dispensing rules.
- Billing Fraud. The government investigates with particularity up-coding (billing code used higher than service level provided), phantom-billing (billed for services not provided), billing for ghost-patients (billed for patients that don’t exist), and billing for services that are deemed medically unnecessary.
- Certification Errors. The government has intensified its investigations against the home health and hospice industry. One of the main allegations is that some physicians and nurses fraudulently certify the need for medical services although the patient is either not homebound (home health) or not terminally ill (hospice care).
Oberheiden, P.C. has a long and distinct track record of avoiding criminal charges. If you or your practice are under investigation, or if you want to find out what to do next, you should speak with a Detroit healthcare fraud defense lawyer of Oberheiden, P.C. today. All calls are free and confidential.
Healthcare fraud is a serious offense. Penalties range from civil recoupment requests, non-payment of claims and program exclusion to criminal prosecution, fines, and even incarceration. Specifically, the general criminal healthcare fraud statute at 18 U.S.C. 1347 provides:
- Up to 10 Years in Prison for Each Count of Healthcare Fraud
- Up to 20 Years in Prison If the Fraud Resulted in Serious Bodily Injury
- Life in Prison If the Fraudulent Scheme Resulted in the Patient’s Death.
What is the worst-case scenario? In general, whether someone will be criminally prosecuted and will go to jail for healthcare fraud depends on a number of factors such as the gravity, the interest of the prosecutor to take the case, and the motivation behind the alleged fraud. What makes Oberheiden, P.C. unique in its representations in healthcare fraud cases is our dual experience as former healthcare prosecutors and renowned defense attorneys.
Our group has a long and distinct track record of avoiding criminal prosecution. If you are under investigation or if you simply want to discuss your case directly with one of our experienced Detroit healthcare fraud defense attorneys, you should contact Oberheiden, P.C. today. All calls are free and confidential.
When Is Healthcare Fraud Criminal?
As seen, healthcare cases can be both civil or criminal in nature. Through early intervention and sophisticated defense strategies, Oberheiden, P.C. has made a name for itself to avoid criminal charges in a great number of federal healthcare investigations.
If you believe your practice is being investigated, you should speak with our experienced attorneys immediately to discuss your situation and to develop an effective defense plan.
In many healthcare investigations, it is often unclear at the beginning whether the case is civil or criminal. Contrary to common belief, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is divided into a civil and a criminal division and it employs federal prosecutors that conduct civil and those that pursue criminal prosecutions. Thus, the mere fact that a prosecutor is involved in a (healthcare) case is no indication per se that the case is about criminal charges.
That same division between civil and criminal government lawyers applies to federal agents. Just because someone was contacted by an OIG or an FBI agent does not automatically mean that the inquiry is about a criminal case since many agents investigate civil matters.
Furthermore, from our own experience as federal civil healthcare prosecutors, we know that cases that start as civil investigations can turn into criminal matters if defended poorly. While the determination of the case nature initially often depends on the skillful interpretation of, for example, the requests made in an OIG subpoena, the tone of the inquiry, or the underlying allegations, there are nonetheless some indications that would suggest a criminal prosecution rather than a civil matter. Such signs include the execution of search warrants, seizure warrants, arrest warrants, issuance of target letters, the involvement of criminal prosecutors, the involvement of the IRS, or the issuance of grand jury subpoenas.
If you have questions, please call us directly. Our clients range from individual providers to entire healthcare 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, Detroit and Michigan law enforcement, or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Defending Healthcare Fraud
Oberheiden, P.C. is a healthcare fraud defense law firm. Throughout our careers, we have handled over 2,000 healthcare matters and tried more than 200 criminal cases in court. Many of our attorneys were previously in charge of healthcare audits and fraud investigations at the Department of Justice and they now offer their valuable insights and extraordinary experience with our clients.
- Immediate Defense. Our number one goal in every investigation is to avoid criminal charges. Our experience and our success rate tell us that the best way to avoid criminal prosecution is not to wait and let the government build its case, but to intervene early in the case while there is still room to impact the investigation. From the moment you engage our services, you will see us working relentlessly to protect your freedom and your livelihood. Within the first hours of an engagement we are often able to answer the most pressing questions: What is the case about? What is the purpose of the investigation? How long will it take? What is the likely outcome?
- No Intent. The U.S. Constitution requires the government to prove criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s a high standard and we put it to the test whenever the government threatens criminal charges. While prosecutors often point inaccuracies in billing records to prove a defendant’s intent, we know that innocent mistakes happen and such mistakes do not equate to fraudulent intent. Oberheiden, P.C. has successfully defended clients across the country by demonstrating that any misinformation in their billing records resulted from organizational or human error and not from fraudulent intent. In our experience, unqualified staff, delegation and outsourcing errors, failed oversight and insufficient supervision, in addition to constantly changing healthcare and billing rules may all lead to errors, but they should not lead to criminal liability.
- Legal Defenses. In addition to having the trial and negotiation skills needed to defeat a government’s case, the healthcare fraud defense attorneys of Oberheiden, P.C. also have the specific healthcare law experience to introduce applicable defenses and statutory loopholes. We have won many cases by demonstrating how exceptions, for example in the context of the Stark Law or medical necessity certifications, apply to our clients’ case and either mitigated or entirely eradicated the government’s fraud case.
- Protecting Your Reputation. Our commitment to defend our clients against unfounded allegations of fraud and wrongdoings goes far beyond establishing legal strategies and defense plans against government investigations. Many of our clients are equally concerned about their reputation and their perception in the public. The media has the power to ruin someone’s reputation or to ignite rumors about wrongdoings by offer biased and prejudicial news reports to its audience. Our Detroit healthcare fraud defense lawyers routinely intervene into slandering reporting and obtain news spots and opportunities to correct and rectify errors by educating the audience about the truth.
Oberheiden, P.C. has appeared in healthcare proceedings across the country to help clients fight fraud charges. Call us today to discuss your situation with an experienced healthcare fraud defense attorney for a free and confidential conversation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the penalties for Medicare Fraud?
Detroit is home to the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, an elite Medicare fraud task force that investigates healthcare fraud in Dearborn and throughout Wayne County. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 1347, Medicare fraud is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment per count, but could trigger even longer sentences if the patient was harmed by the fraud. If a patient dies as a result of the healthcare fraud conduct, federal law authorizes life-in-prison sentences if found guilty or convicted at trial.
Will the government pursue charges if I honestly didn’t know about a violation?
It depends, however, generally speaking, the government does not need to prove that you intended to engage in healthcare fraud to pursue charges. Most healthcare fraud statutes are strict liability offenses, or have a knowledge element that doesn’t require the intent to defraud. Instead, these cases proceed based on your knowledge of the submission itself. For example, if there were errors in a bill you submitted to Medicare, you can be liable for them if you knew or should have known of their existence. For this reason, many honest and well0intentioned providers occasionally find themselves at the center of a healthcare fraud investigation. If you are under investigation for healthcare fraud, it is imperative you reach out to a dedicated Michigan federal healthcare fraud defense attorney as soon as possible to give your attorney the best chance of favorably resolving the case.
What is a Detroit, Michigan whistleblower claim?
The term whistleblower refers to an individual who brings evidence of healthcare fraud to the attention of federal authorities in hopes of securing a financial reward for themselves. Under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, anyone with knowledge of potential healthcare fraud can bring a case themselves, on behalf of the government. Once a whistleblower, also called a relator, provides information to the government, the government must follow up on the allegations. The government may determine to intervene in the case, if it finds the allegations are both significant and supported by evidence. However, even if the federal government chooses not to intervene, the relator can pursue the case at their own expense. If you recently learned that a whistleblower brought allegations of healthcare fraud against you or your practice, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced Detroit, MI federal healthcare fraud defense attorney.
Our Track Record
The commitment of Oberheiden, P.C. is to avoid criminal charges and to shield our client’s medical business from government intrusion. Our team of former healthcare prosecutors and experienced healthcare defense attorneys have a distinguished history of protecting business owners, executives, lawyers, physicians, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, home healthcare entities, and many other healthcare organizations against any form of alleged healthcare fraud. Here are some recent examples of our case outcomes.
- Representation of a Pharmacy Investigated by the Department of Defense and the Office of Inspector General for Tricare Fraud. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of a Marketing Group Investigated by the Department of Defense and the Office of Inspector General for Tricare Fraud. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of Physicians Investigated by the Department of Defense and the Office of Inspector General for Tricare Fraud. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of Laboratory against an Investigation by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Alleged Medicare Fraud. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of Laboratory against an Investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Alleged Medicare Fraud. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of Laboratory against an Investigation by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for alleged Tricare Fraud. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of a Healthcare Services Company against an Investigation by the Office of Inspector General, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health and Human Services for Alleged False Claims Act and Stark Law Violations. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of a Healthcare Marketing Group Against an Investigation by the Office of Inspector General for Alleged Healthcare Fraud. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of a Physician against an Investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Alleged Medicare Fraud, Stark Law Violations, and Anti-Kickbacks. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of Laboratory against an Investigation by the Department of Justice and the Office of Inspector General for Alleged False Claims Act and Medicare Violations. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of Physician Investigated by the Department of Justice and the Office of Inspector General for Medicare Fraud and False Claims Act Violations. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of Physician Investigated by the Office of Inspector General for Medicaid Fraud and Stark Law Violations. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of Healthcare Organization Investigated by the Department of Justice and the Office of Inspector General for Medicare Fraud. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of Physician Group Investigated by the Department of Justice and the Office of Inspector General for Medicare Fraud, Stark Law Violations, and False Claims Act Violations. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of Physician Group Investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Inspector General for False Claims Act Violations. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of a Physician Investigated by the Department of Defense and the Office of Inspector General for Tricare Fraud. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
- Representation of Pharmacy Investigated by the Department of Justice and the Office of Inspector General for Department of Labor Program Fraud. Result: No civil or criminal liability.
Speak With a Healthcare Fraud Defense Attorney Serving Detroit, MI Today!
Call us today and speak to one of our experienced healthcare fraud defense attorneys directly. We are available to discuss your situation in a free and confidential call, including on weekends.
Additional Pages for Detroit, Michigan
- Detroit anti kickback defense
- Detroit False Claims Act & Qui Tam defense
- Detroit federal criminal defense
- Detroit hospice fraud defense
- Detroit Medicare fraud defense
- Detroit Medicare fraud defense penalties