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Even though risks are involved in whistleblower cases, they still play a vital role in reducing the amount of fraud against the government and the taxpayer, including health care programs that are federally funded. While under the False Claims Act (FCA), the case often eventually requires the whistleblower’s identity to be revealed during as the litigation progresses, there are protection laws that prohibit whistleblower retaliation. are in place. The individual who brings the evidence forwarded are often rewarded graciously for bringing the fraudulent activities to the attention of law firms, courts, and the government and can receive whistleblower awards as high as 30% of the recovery under certain statutes.
After a previous employee at a skin cancer center brought forward evidence of fraud, Dr. Norman A. Brooks, owner of the center, agreed to a settlement of $2.6 million. The case also rewarded the employee who filed the false claim case against Dr. Brooks, almost $500,000 as a whistleblower award.
Whistleblower Case Against Dr. Norman A. Brooks
On the 10th April 2017, The Attorney’s Office of the United States confirmed that Dr. Norma A. Brooks had paid a settlement of $2.6 million to the government. The settlement was the result of an investigation into the California-based dermatologist with allegations that he had conducted fraud at the Skin Cancer Medical Center, owned by Dr. Brooks.
The case was initiated after a previous employee of Dr. Brooks, Janet Burke, had brought forward allegations, along with evidence, of misconduct by the dermatologist. The allegations indicated that Dr. Brooks had falsely diagnosed a number of patients with skin cancer and ordered expensive surgical procedures to be performed on the patients. The costs to cover these surgeries were then requested from Medicare, a government medical insurance agency.
The surgical procedures that were performed on patients who were falsely diagnosed with skin cancer were Mohs surgeries. This is a procedure that takes a significant amount of time and effort. A surgical procedure is used to remove skin layers in order to diagnose skin cancer, as well as to remove the cancerous cells from the patient.
Submitting false claims to the government for payment has severe consequences. The False Claims Act can remedy those consequences and provide a mechanism for the government to recover monies it was defrauded while rewarding whistleblowers for their information. Qui Tam, also known as whistleblower cases are extremely complex and require the use of a whistleblower lawyer to file under the False Claims Act. If you know of a potential fraud committed against the government, especially Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud or other types of health care fraud you should look to have a free consultation with a whistleblower lawyer Chicago, IL trusts.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Brown, LLC (formerly JTB law Group, LLC) for their insight into whistleblower cases.