Puerto Rico Passes a False Claims Act

Puerto Rico will now have an additional weapon in its arsenal to combat hurricane contractors who defraud the island. Recently, Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló signed House Bill 1627, which establishes the Fraudulent Claims to Programs, Contracts, and Services of the Government of Puerto Rico Act.

By passing this bill, Puerto Rico will receive an additional $1.2 billion in federal funding which was conditioned upon taking affirmative steps to supervise and prosecute those who misuse Medicaid.

The secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Health, Rafael Rodríguez, welcomed the new law by stating that it “will allow the Government to continue to recover credibility at the federal level, to process more aggressively those who misuse these funds and ensure that the funds allocated are available to better meet the needs of bona fide beneficiaries.”

With this law, Puerto Rico joins 30 U.S. states that have fraudulent claim laws. By having its own False Claims Act, in addition to bringing claims specific to the island, Puerto Rico will be able to participate and recover funds from nationwide settlements. Whistleblowers who report the fraudulent use of Government funds will also be protected by this Act.

Bracker & Marcus LLC represents relators in False Claims Act cases across the country (and wouldn't mind having a reason to travel to Puerto Rico). If you are aware of any fraud, waste, or abuse of federal, state, or now U.S. territory funds, please contact us for a free initial consultation.

Congratulations to Judge Benjamin Cheesbro

Bracker & Marcus LLC would like to congratulate their friend and colleague Benjamin Cheesbro, who yesterday was sworn in as federal magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Brunswick Division. Congratulations, Ben, and best of luck in Brunswick! We look forward to being in Judge Cheesbro's courtroom in the near future!

Beaumont Hospital to Settle False Claims Act Case for $84.5 Million

The United States Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan has announced a settlement with William Beaumont Hospital of $84.5 million to resolve a False Claims Act lawsuit brought by our client, David Felten, M.D., Ph.D.

 False Claims Act whistleblower David Felten, M.D., Ph.D.

False Claims Act whistleblower David Felten, M.D., Ph.D.

Surely one of the most prestigious whistleblowers in FCA history, Dr. Felten was recently listed among the “Thirty Most Influential Neuroscientists Alive Today.” Among many other honors, Dr. Felten is the lead author for Netter's Atlas of Neuroscience, and recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant and two 10-year research MERIT Awards from two different National Institutes of Health. He is widely credited with creating the field of psychoneuroimmunology.

Bracker & Marcus LLC and Caplan Cobb LLP are proud to represent Dr. Felten and congratulate him, the federal government (in particular AUSAs Peter Caplan, Leslie Wizner, and Carolyn Bell-Harbin, lead investigator Jonathan Sonbay, and DOJ attorney Laurie Oberembt), and the state of Michigan for this outstanding result. In addition to the qui tam settlement, our firms continue to litigate a False Claims Act retaliation claim on his behalf. The case is captioned United States ex rel. Felten v. William Beaumont Hospitals, 2:10-cv-13440 (E.D. Mich.).

For more information on the case and settlement, please see our press release.