New York Whistleblower Defense
Protecting Your Business and Your License: (214)469-9009
Blowing the whistle in New York is lucrative business. Many successful business owners may feel unfairly punished when they realize that a former affiliate or employee has turned them into the government for allegedly defrauding commercial insurance or federally funded health care programs like Medicaid and Medicare.
Hundreds of health care fraud defense cases have taught renowned whistleblower defense attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden how it feels when hard working folks suddenly see themselves confronted with frivolous allegations initiated by someone they previously trusted (and perhaps even compensated) as a staff member. Indeed, New Yorkers can count on Nick.
Unlike most attorneys that mention health care law defense next to DUI and domestic violence defense on their websites, Nick dedicates his practice to defending individuals and businesses accused of fraud. Ready for some case results? Here are some examples attesting to Nick’s familiarity when it comes to resolving whistleblower and qui tam cases.
- Dismissal of False Claims Act Case: In this case of multiple defendants, Nick’s firm was the only law firm that got his client’s case dismissed. Although originally considered a key player in the alleged fraud scheme, Nick and his team convinced a federal judge to dismiss his client and clear him off all fraud allegations. While it can’t be emphasized enough how rare it is for a federal court to hear and decide a motion to dismiss in the early stage of a whistleblower case, this case is just one example that you do not have to put up with bogus claims. Forceful defense = case dismissal.
- Dismissal of False Claims Act Case: Nick represented about a dozen of clients with joint interests in a federal whistleblower case involving the Office of Inspector General, the Department of Health and Human Services, the FBI, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice. Starting with a diligent internal investigation of his clients’ billing policies and operations, Nick quickly realized that there simply was no basis to accuse his clients of any wrongdoing, let alone fraud. In meetings at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Nick and his team presented their findings and convinced the United States to drop the entire case. Diligent self-audit = lack of any liability.
- Dismissal of False Claims Act Case: Nick argued his client’s case before the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General in Washington D.C. The case was unusually complex and involved close to 100,000 claims and an original government demand of several hundreds of millions of dollars. The underlying misconduct alleged Stark Law violations, False Claims Act violations, and Medicare Fraud. Despite the magnitude of the case and the seriousness of the matter, Nick and his team convinced the government prosecutors to enter into a payment plan dismissing more than 95% of the allegations. Tough case = tough negotiations.
Call attorney Nick Oberheiden today at (214)469-9009 and discuss your situation. All consultations are directly with Nick and are free of charge and confidential.
These Are Nick’s Priorities When Defending NY Physicians Against False Claims Act Allegations
- Keeping the Case Civil. Money is one thing, freedom a whole another dimension. Among the very first inquiries a competent whistleblower defense attorney will make is to find out whether or not there is a criminal investigation in addition to the civil fraud case. A health care fraud coordinator at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York will evaluate almost every NY false claims case in an effort to determine whether the allegations of fraud arise to criminal misconduct. Notably, not a single whistleblower case that Nick handled for his clients resulted in criminal liability.
- No Government Intervention. At some point during the investigation, New York prosecutors tasked with the review and handling of your whistleblower case must determine whether or not to intervene, that is whether the government will support and assist plaintiff’s allegations or whether the government will stay out of the case. That decision is a critical one because without the support of the government, the plaintiff and her lawyers almost always feel dis-incentivized to continue the case on their own. To understand this complexity, it is important to realize that lawyers that file False Claims Act cases are typically paid on a contingency fee basis, which means that they carry all expenses at the risk of collecting nothing. Now, if the government tells them that they will not participate in the case, the effect can be so devastating to plaintiffs’ lawyers that they will quit further litigation to avoid additional waste of time and monies.
- Settling Where Needed, Fight Where’s Right. The decision to settle or to fight develops during the case. Many clients are determined to fight the allegations, partially because they are upset (e.g. perhaps they feel betrayed by the relator), partially because they don’t feel that they have done anything wrong. An experienced attorney will navigate you through the litigation process and explore all options, including whether to vigorously deny and fight the allegations.
- No Malpractice Investigation. In general, if one of the defendants to an FCA case is a physician, there is no repercussion with respect to the physician’s professional medical board. However, ill-advised providers that enter detrimental settlement agreements may find themselves reported to the board. If you are a New York physician and you want to make sure to keep your license intact regardless of the outcome of the whistleblower litigation, you should call Nick to pursue the right strategy from the very beginning of your defense case.
- No CMS Program Exclusion. Because most whistleblower cases allege violations of Medicaid or Medicare regulations, it is important to keep an eye on the possibility of being excluded from Medicaid and Medicare per CMS policies. Again, this is another example to demonstrate the nuances and difficulties of successfully handling a false claims act investigation. You need to trust your attorney that he or she considers and protects everything that is relevant to you and your practice—for the short term and for the long term.
Important Things You Should Know About False Claims Act Investigations in New York
We Just Received a Subpoena (or CID) from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York: What Now?
Indeed, many NY businesses first learn about a pending whistleblower case against them when agents from the Office of Inspector General either in person or through mail deliver an OIG subpoena or a Civil Investigative Demand (CID). As shocking as this may be, stay calm and reserve your energy for selecting the right attorney to properly defend your interests. Many (inexperienced) attorneys advise their clients to do what the subpoena tells them to do and to produce requested documents as soon as possible. Attorneys that are actually experienced will choose a different path. They choose to discuss the subpoena with the case agent and the prosecutor first to better understand the client’s exposure and the purpose of the investigation. Also, an experienced attorney will not just handover documents but secure an extension of the production deadline and then, parallel to discussions with the government, produce some records, beginning with the most favorable ones.
What Experience Do I Need to Look for When Hiring a New York False Claims Act Defense Attorney?
Defending False Claims Act cases can be tough work. If you search for lawyers online and you realize that health care law or health care fraud defense is just one part of that lawyer’s list of services (perhaps next to shop-lifting, cocaine defense cases, and drunk driving), you need to ask yourself: Is this lawyer truly focused and experienced enough to help me in the case of my lifetime? In general, you should insist on true answers to questions such as: (1) How many health care fraud defense cases have you handled? (2) How many and what type of False Claims Act cases have you handled? (3) What were the case outcomes in the last ten or twenty whistleblower cases that you defended?
Our Attorney Does Not Seem to Have Much Experience: Can We Switch?
Absolutely. Many people realize in the process of the false claims act defense case that the lawyer originally picked may not have the necessary experience to safely navigate a client through a complex investigation involving highly trained federal agents and prosecutors with profound experience. Clients that have switched to Nick will either report that their lawyer does not understand the pertinent health care rules or lacks confidence when it comes to case resolution negotiations with federal agents and lawyers from the Department of Justice. If you are at the point of losing trust, simply call Nick and see what he would do (or what he would do differently) to handle your situation. After all, your current attorney will not know about this conversation and regardless whether you decide to switch to Nick and his team, all calls are free and remain 100% confidential. Ready for a second opinion? Call Nick today.
How Can I Engage Nick’s Services?
The easiest part of your case is to contact Nick. If you call (214)469-9009 your call will go straight to Nick. He will take the time to listen to you and provide you with a free assessment. If you want to move forward with the representation, Nick will send you an email with all next steps. Super easy!