Even if you are not directly responsible for breaking federal law in a scheme to avoid import duties, you might find yourself under the microscope of prosecutors. That is one of the takeaways from the recently announced settlement of a whistleblower lawsuit against a clothing wholesaler.
Kmart's financial struggles over the past few years have been well publicized. The retail outlet has closed hundreds of stores, with 45 more scheduled to lock their doors in early 2018. (According to the retailer’s website, it currently has 8 Wisconsin stores, including one a few miles south of Milwaukee.) So it's understandable that executives looked for ways to increase income for the chain.
The legal journey began when two emergency room doctors became aware of a scheme by a major hospital chain and a pair of physicians groups to defraud taxpayers of millions of dollars. Though it is never easy to buck the system, the two doctors listened to their consciences and filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the physicians groups.
Social Security Disability is one of the nation's most important safety nets, offering financial assistance and medical care to workers who are prevented from continuing their careers by injury or illness. When someone defrauds the Social Security Disability benefits system, it hurts all of us, but most especially taxpayers and those with disabilities.
Medicare has for decades provided health insurance for millions of older Americans and others. When someone defrauds Medicare, they are stealing from seniors and all other taxpayers.
Millions of Americans depend on Medicaid for health coverage. Benefits help eligible low-income adults, children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with disabilities. Unfortunately, the joint federal and state program is often targeted by unscrupulous operators eager for a slice of Medicaid's more than $300 billion budget.
When he filed his whistleblower lawsuit, Vladimir Trakhter was not a high-powered executive privy to inside information about former employer Olympia Therapy Inc. He was a physical therapist assistant at the Ohio health care company back in 2008 when he began noticing disturbing behavior: the company was submitting claims to Medicare for rehabilitation therapy services that patients did not need.
It is well-known that pharmaceutical companies often provide payments for consulting and promotional speaking to doctors likely to use or prescribe the company's devices or medications. Some critics of the practice consider the payments to be a form of bribery, while others defend the practice as a way for physicians to become familiar with products that can benefit patients.
People who work in accounting and billing are often chided and teased about being numbers-driven, quiet people. Breaking the mold, two women who worked in accounts receivable recently made big legal noise.
Some readers of our Milwaukee employment law blog might sleep better tonight after reading about a recent whistleblower settlement. The $2.6 million agreement resolves allegations of Medicare fraud in a False Claims Act lawsuit filed against the owners of a chain of sleep clinics.