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Presented by Hodgson Russ, the Whistleblower Blog is written by a team of lawyers experienced in successfully guiding both whistleblowers and companies accused by whistleblowers of wrongdoing through the False Claims Act process.

Showing 7 posts in Procurement Fraud.

FreshPoint to Pay $4.2 Million to Settle FCA Lawsuit

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The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced a False Claims Act settlement with Houston-based food distribution company FreshPoint Inc. FreshPoint has agreed to pay $4.2 million “to resolve allegations that it overcharged the Department of Defense for fresh fruit and vegetables purchased under 15 separate contracts.” The settlement resolves allegations that FreshPoint “overcharged the government on hundreds of sales of fresh fruit and vegetables by improperly inflating its prices to the government to reflect FreshPoint’s view of the prevailing market price of the goods at the time of sale.” The government alleged that, in this way, FreshPoint violated its contracts with the government that required it to provide produce at cost, plus a set mark-up, but did not allow it to make additional price adjustments “based upon perceived changes in market prices.” The FCA case arose from a lawsuit filed by a whistleblower, a former FreshPoint employee, who will receive a $798,000 relator’s share, according to the government’s press release.

John Sinatra is a partner in the Business Litigation Practice at Hodgson Russ LLP. You can reach him at jsinatra@hodgsonruss.com

Topics: Procurement Fraud

Justice Department Announces Record Single-Year False Claims Act Recovery

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The Justice Department yesterday reported $4.9 billion in False Claims Act recoveries for fiscal year 2012, which is the largest single-year recovery in history.

The recoveries spanned several sectors of the economy. In the health care arena, the Justice Department reports that, “[e]nforcement actions involving the pharmaceutical and medical device industry were the source of some of the largest recoveries this year.” The department recovered nearly $2 billion in cases alleging false claims for drugs and medical devices under federally insured health programs and, in addition, returned $745 million to state Medicaid programs.” The recoveries from major pharmaceutical companies addressed several drugs allegedly marketed for off-label use. They also addressed cases involving the alleged payment of kickbacks to physicians to prescribe certain drugs. Some of the cases addressed alleged false and misleading statements concerning drug safety and the alleged underpayment of rebates owed under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, and they include cases alleging inaccurate, unsupported, or misleading statements about drug safety to increase sales.

St. Jude Medical Pays $3.65 Million to Settle Overcharge Claims

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St. Jude Medical Inc. has settled, for $3.65 million, federal False Claim Act allegations arising from a qui tam case in which the relators alleged that the company inflated the cost of replacement pacemakers and defibrillators purchased by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Justice announced recently.

Topics: Procurement Fraud

Shareholder Derivative Suits Premised on False Claims Act Violations

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The government and the whistleblowers who assist the government are not the only parties taking aim at corporate America. Private plaintiffs are finding ways to bring civil actions based in part on alleged False Claims Act violations. Recently there have been a rash of shareholder derivative suits that allege breaches of fiduciary duties and reckless mismanagement by officers and directors. Although shareholder derivative suits are not new, the charge alleged in these suits is—namely, that the failure to manage risk appropriately led to violations of the False Claims Act or other fraud statutes.

Topics: Procurement Fraud

Oracle Whistleblower to Receive $40 Million in False Claims Act Suit

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On October 6, 2011, the Justice Department announced a significant settlement with Oracle to resolve False Claims Act allegations. In particular, Oracle Corp. and Oracle America Inc. have agreed to pay $199.5 million plus interest for allegedly failing to meet their contractual obligations to the General Services Administration (GSA).

According to the government, this settlement relates to a 1998 contract to sell software licenses and technical support through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program. The government said, “The MAS program provides the government and other GSA-authorized purchasers with a streamlined process for procurement of commonly used commercial goods and services. To be awarded a MAS contract, and thereby gain access to the broad government marketplace and the ease of administration that comes from selling to hundreds of government purchasers under one central contract, contractors must agree to disclose commercial pricing policies and practices, and to abide by the contract terms.”

Topics: Procurement Fraud, Whistleblower Settlements

MN Joint Venture Fined for False Claims of DBE Use

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According to an August 24, 2011, U.S. Department of Justice press release, Minnesota Transit Constructors Inc. (MnTC), a joint venture comprised of Granite Construction, C.S. McCrossan Inc., and Parsons Transportation Group, as well as a number of subcontractors, have agreed to pay the United States to resolve allegations that the joint venture knowingly submitted false claims related to a federally funded transit construction project in Minneapolis. According to the press release, “the companies falsely claimed that they had used Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) for part of the work on the project when they had not.” The joint venture had been the prime contractor on the project to design and build the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit System, a light-rail line linking downtown Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America. According to the government, “to obtain and maintain their contract, MnTC and its subcontractors were required to comply with the DBE regulations and to accurately report their DBE contracting. MnTC claimed that materials and services for the project were provided by DBEs, when in fact they were provided by non-DBE subcontractors, and the DBEs were merely extra participants used to make it appear as if a DBE had performed the work.”

Topics: Procurement Fraud

Our Whistleblower Suit Against DHL Continues

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A recent decision by State Supreme Court Justice John M. Curran allows a New York State False Claims Act lawsuit brought by Kevin Grupp and Robert Moll, the owners of MVP Delivery and Logistics, to proceed. MVP Delivery is an independent trucking company that was subcontracted by DHL. Grupp and Moll are represented by the whistleblower attorneys at Hodgson Russ.

Topics: Procurement Fraud

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