Whistleblower awarded $358,000 for reporting fraud against Medicare
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently settled a False Claims Act lawsuit with Quest Diagnostics for $1.79 million, over claims the health care provider double billed Medicare for services and diagnostic tests. The whistleblower who exposed the alleged False Claims Act violations was rewarded with $358,000 of the recovery for her efforts.
Quest Diagnostics is a diagnostic health center incorporated in New Jersey. Elisa Martinez, the whistleblower who initiated the qui tam lawsuit, says she immediately started raising concerns over the practice of billing Medicare for multiple, unnecessary blood draws. According to her attorneys, Martinez’s concerns were dismissed by her supervisors and she was told to adhere to the practice.
Martinez’s whistleblower lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of California under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The Act allows ordinary citizens with inside of fraud, waste, and abuse of government programs to seek legal counsel and file a civil lawsuit on behalf of the government. Depending on the circumstances of the case, whistleblowers are eligible to a reward between 15% and 30% of the monies recovered.
The False Claims Act makes it a crime to knowingly defraud or conspire to commit fraud against the federal government, which often relies on whistleblowers to expose these crimes. Whistleblowers are sometimes heavily compensated for reporting fraud because without their help, the government may be unable to detect the wrongdoing. To file a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act, the whistleblower must be represented by an attorney. While The Cochran Firm, D.C. did not represent Ms. Martinez or any other parties involved, our firm does have a whistleblower practice and provides legal representation to individuals who wish to blow the whistle on financial fraud against government programs and services.
If you have important insider knowledge of an individual or organization defrauding the government, contact The Cochran Firm, D.C. and speak to one of our qui tam whistleblower attorneys. Your suit will be filed under seal, protecting your identity for a prolonged period of time, and you can reward yourself financially while providing an important service to your country and your fellow taxpayers.