Looking Back: Important Qui Tam Cases From 2021
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released its 2021 False Claims Act (FCA) statistics. A near-record year, the DOJ reported over $5.6 billion recovered in FCA settlements and judgments.
The DOJ’s year-end review presents an excellent opportunity to look back to some of 2021’s most notable FCA cases brought by whistleblowers.
Arriva Medical & Alere
In August 2021, Arriva Medical and its parent company, Alere Inc., agreed to settle allegations of FCA violations for $160 million. According to the DOJ’s allegations, the two companies’ fraudulent Medicare scheme included illegal kickbacks and billing for ineligible – and, in some cases, even deceased – patients.
The whistleblower in the case, a former Arriva employee, received an award of over $28.5 million.
South Carolina Healthcare Providers
In September 2021, the DOJ obtained a nearly $140 million award from a group of South Carolina healthcare providers, including pain management clinics, drug testing laboratories, and a substance abuse counseling center.
The DOJ’s allegations, which came from five different whistleblowers and three separate qui tam cases, were that the defendants provided illegal kickbacks to providers who considered using their services and billed Medicare for unnecessary services.
Defense Contracting Fraud
In May 2021, the DOJ reported a $50 million settlement with Illinois-based defense contractor Navistar to resolve allegations of FCA violations. The whistleblower in the case, a former Government Contracts Manager for Navistar, alleged that Navistar had used falsified documents to sell its products to the U.S. Marine Corps at artificially-inflated prices. The whistleblower was awarded over $11 million for his participation in the case.
At the very beginning of 2021, the DOJ announced that defense contractor Insitu Inc. had agreed to pay $25 million to settle a qui tam lawsuit under the FCA. The contractor was reported to have knowingly submitted false information regarding the costs of drones, overcharging the U.S. military in the process.
The whistleblower, a former Insitu executive, also revealed that, unbeknownst to the government, Insitu had used cheap, refurbished materials during construction to inflate its profits even further. For his help in the case, the whistleblower received over $4.6 million from the settlement.
Looking Ahead: Our Role in Future Qui Tam Cases
As the cases above demonstrate, whistleblowers who come forward with valuable information about Medicare billing, illegal kickbacks, or defense contracting fraud can receive significant monetary rewards including large, multi-million dollar settlements. At Price Armstrong, our attorneys have extensive experience litigating cases under the False Claims Act. We know how to both protect whistleblowers and maximize their recovery under the False Claims Act, and we expect last year’s near-record of False Claims Act recoveries to only increase in the years to come.
If you know of potential fraud against the government, you may have a valuable claim as a whistleblower under the False Claims Act. Cases brought by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act, like those discussed here, often produce sizable settlements for both the United States government and whistleblowers. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and review of your case.