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Elder Care Companies Agree to Pay $15.5 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

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Health Care Enforcement News

Elder Care Companies Agree to Pay $15.5 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

The Department of Justice announced that Guardian Elder Care Holdings Inc. and related companies agreed to pay nearly $15.5 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations that, from 2011 to 2017, they knowingly overbilled Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services. Guardian reportedly operates more than 50 nursing facilities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

The allegations were originally brought by two former Guardian employees who filed suit under the FCA’s qui tam (or “whistleblower”) provisions. The former employees will receive an approximately $2.8 million share of the recovery. Guardian also agreed to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. The case is captioned United States ex rel. Krauss v. Guardian Elder Care Holdings, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:15-cv-6850 (E.D. Pa.).

The DOJ press release can be found here.

Anti-Bribery Updates

Seventh Defendant Sentenced in Venezuela Bribery Scheme

A seventh defendant has been sentenced as part of the ongoing investigation by DOJ into bribery at Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. The defendant, a former PDVSA procurement officer, was sentenced to 70 months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty in December 2015 to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of making false statements in connection with a tax return, and in December 2018 to an additional count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.

According to DOJ, the defendant admitted to accepting bribes from US-based businessmen in exchange for placing them on PDVSA bidding panels that would enable them to win lucrative energy contracts with PDVSA. The defendant further admitted that, between 2007 and 2014, he accepted over $590,000 in bribes, and attempted to conceal corrupt payments by receiving them through bank accounts held by associates and relatives. He also admitted that he failed to report bribe-related income on his 2010 tax return. To date, DOJ has announced charges against 26 individuals as part of the investigation, 20 of whom have pleaded guilty.

The DOJ press release can be found here.  

National Security Updates

Individual Charged With Acting on Behalf of Russia Without Registering as a Foreign Agent

DOJ charged a Mexican resident residing in Singapore with acting within the United States on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the Attorney General and conspiring to do the same, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

According to DOJ, the defendant allegedly rented a specific property in Miami-Dade, Florida, at the direction of a Russian official, and was told not to rent the property in his own name or tell anyone about it. Also at the direction of the Russian official, the defendant and his companion took a picture of a vehicle license plate of a US government source. The defendant was spotted by a security guard and was later apprehended by US Customs and Border Protection.

The DOJ press release can be found here.


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