Qui Tam Lawsuits
Fraud against the U.S. government costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars
each year. Common types of fraud against the government include Medicare
and Medicaid fraud, contractor fraud, and false claims. Under the False
Claims Act, people who know about the misuse of government funds and expose
the truth – also known as whistleblowers – can file a qui
tam lawsuit and potentially receive financial compensation for up to 30%
of the amount that the government recovers.
Contact a Florida qui tam lawyer at
Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez to help you in filing a lawsuit involving fraud against the government.
Call us today for a free consultation, toll-free at
Medicare is a government program that was started in the 1960s with the
purpose of making health care available to the elderly. Unfortunately,
criminals running Medicare fraud schemes are ripping off this government
program and costing honest and hardworking U.S. taxpayers billions each year.
South Florida has been a hotbed for a large number of Medicare fraud schemes.
In 2008, Rita Campos Ramirez of Miami was sentenced to 10 years in prison
for running the largest Medicare fraud scheme by an individual. Over the
course of about 4 years, Campos Ramirez owned and ran a medical billing
company that submitted over 140,000 false Medicare claims, billing $170
million on behalf of HIV clinics in Miami-Dade. 75 HIV clinics were involved
in the scheme, and Campos Ramirez received around $5 million for her participation
in the scheme, according to a Washington Post article from June 2008.
Another fraud scheme, reported by ABC News in March 2010, involved a location
in South Florida that was registered as a pharmacy and had received $1
million from Medicare in two months’ time. Upon investigation, however,
it was discovered that the “pharmacy” was in fact an empty
space. Investigators claim that this scheme could have been run by just
one person who bought the pharmacy, patient records and Medicare license,
and then submitted $1 million in claims in two months. According to ABC
News, Medicare fraud alone results in over $60 billion in annual costs
False Claims Act
The False Claims Act allows for citizens who want to expose fraud to come
forward and file a lawsuit on behalf the U.S. government, but only with
the help of a licensed attorney.
Government fraud takes place at the individual level, as we highlighted
in the above stories, but it also takes place at the corporate level.
In April 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that CVS Pharmacy
was ordered to pay $17.5 million to settle False Claims Act accusations,
according to the Boston Herald.
CVS allegedly overcharged 10 state Medicaid programs for prescriptions,
including California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. CVS alleges
it did not do anything wrong and settled the claim with the Department
The whistleblower in the case, a CVS pharmacist from Minnesota, brought
the case to the Department of Justice. The pharmacist’s compensation
will be nearly $2.6 million.
Other examples of fraud have also been found in the pharmaceutical industry.
Illegal actions such as kickbacks to doctors and hospitals, off-label
(illegal) drug marketing, and price inflation are commonplace among some
pharmaceutical companies, and have resulted in cases brought forward by
whistleblowers under Federal and State False Claims Acts.
In early 2011, AstraZeneca, maker of the drug Seroquel, paid a settlement
of $68.5 million in a False Claims Act case involving illegal drug marketing.
Seroquel, an anti-psychotic drug, generated $5.3 billion in sales for
AstraZeneca in 2010. In the lawsuit, 37 states charged the drug manufacturer
with deceptive marketing and failure to reveal the drug’s dangerous
side effects. In 2010, AstraZeneca paid a $520 million settlement for
deceptive marketing of the same drug.
The largest settlement that a pharmaceutical company has paid in U.S. history
for health care fraud was in 2009, when Pfizer paid $2.3 billion for illegal
marketing of four of its drugs.
Qui Tam Lawsuits
If you are aware of government fraud at the corporate or individual level,
contact a Florida qui tam lawyer. A qui tam attorney will help you understand your rights and the legal
process involved in filing a qui tam lawsuit.
Call the qui tam lawyers at Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez for a free
consultation toll-free at