A whistleblower contacted attorney Joel Hesch of The Hesch Firm LLC for help in reporting that his employer was using medical devices in knee replacement surgeries that had not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That marked the beginning of a journey that resulted in an amazing victory for the government, the public, and the whistleblower.
Hesch informed his client of the process for applying for a sizeable reward if he was willing to become a whistleblower. Here, Medicare was paying tens-of-millions in dollars for these knee replacements and a condition of receiving reimbursement from Medicare or other federal healthcare programs was that the devices be FDA approved. To receive a reward for reporting fraud, a whistleblower must hire an attorney to file a civil suit against the company committing Medicare fraud. Hesch filed the proper documents and met many times with attorneys with the U.S. Department of Justice and convinced the government to intervene in the whistleblower’s case. Ultimately, the Department of Justice agreed to pay the whistleblower over $7 million as a reward for stepping forward in reporting Medicare fraud. The U.S. government obtained an $80 million settlement as part of a $40 million civil claim and a $40 million criminal plea deal and fine in a False Claims Act case involving alleged fraud by failing to obtain FDA approval for the medical devices used in knee replacements. In addition, based upon the strength of the allegations presented to the government by The Hesch Firm and the results of the investigation, the government took the rare and extreme step of debarring one of the companies from doing business with the government for 20 years. At the end of the day, The Hesch Firm successfully negotiated with the government a whistleblower reward for its client of more than 17 percent of the $40 million civil settlement.
I applaud the courage of the whistleblower for contacting me in confidence to determine if he had the right type of allegations to receive a reward for reporting Medicare fraud. This is a textbook example of how the whistleblower reward program is supposed to work. The False Claims Act (FCA) authorizes the government to pay whistleblower rewards based on the amount the government recovered associated with a fraudulent practice, such as Medicare fraud or fraud against the military. Here, Hesch agreed to take the case and filed the whistleblower reward application, assisted the Department of Justice in its investigation and reach an outstanding settlement. In fact, this particular case is one of the largest fraud cases settled by the U.S. Department of Justice this fiscal year, and one of the rare instances in which a company is debarred from doing business with Medicare for 20 years.
Hopefully other whistleblowers will feel emboldened by this fantastic result and will consider also doing the right thing by reporting fraud against Medicare, the military or any of more than 20 federal or state government programs.
As a taxpayer, I thank my client for his courage to contact me and then to step forward and report fraud. I also acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the government attorneys who worked with us in reaching such a positive result.
About The Hesch Firm LLC
The Hesch Firm exclusively represents whistleblowers nationwide who wish to report fraud and file for rewards. The Hesch Firm has pursued fraud cases against those cheating Medicare, the military, the IRS and many other federal and state agencies. After spending more than 15 years prosecuting fraud for the federal government – and helping recover $1.5 billion in the process – Joel Hesch realized he could serve as a powerful advocate and ally for whistleblowers looking for justice. Armed with the knowledge and experience he gained while working for the Department of Justice, Hesch founded The Hesch Firm in 2006. Since then, The Hesch Firm has been a staunch nationwide advocate for whistleblowers in their fight against government fraud and helping them file for protection and rewards. Additional information is available at www.howtoreportfraud.com.