Dog and pony shows are not the only corporate form of seeking new business. Corporate events may go beyond generic glad-handing to attract new business. A former executive of an international medical device and medical service organization brought forward evidence that the eye care company was offering doctors lavish vacations to entice them to direct traffic to the business, according to The National Law Review.
Kickbacks Involved In The Evidence
Doctors offered extravagant outings at ski areas, golf resorts and other activities under the scheme over the course on nine years. The allegations were the basis of a whistleblower lawsuit that recently settled for $12 million dollars. The whistleblower is expected to receive $2.3 million dollars for bringing the case to light.
Federal officials say that the eye care company offers laser surgery products and services. To increase sales, the recently settled qui tam lawsuit says that the eye care business bribed doctors to use their products and services using lavish fishing trips, ski vacations, golf outings and similar events, as well as fraudulent “consulting” agreements. The eye care company then billed Medicare for products and services provided that were linked the scheme, according to the lawsuit. The company does not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement.
Lawsuit Alleged Violations Of The False Claims Act And The Anti-Kickback Act
The lawsuit alleged that the company scheme to increase business violated the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Act (AKA). The False Claims Act serves to allow private citizens to bring lawsuits on behalf of the government to recover taxpayer money when the business fraudulently obtains payments or reimbursement from government programs, such as Medicare. The AKA on the other hand does not provide private citizens with a pathway to bring a civil lawsuit. However, some whistleblower lawsuits provide evidence of unlawful kickbacks under the AKA as additional proof of fraud.