As we mentioned in Part I of this series, the Government will staff your case after it is served. There will be an assigned Department of Justice (“DOJ”) attorney from Washington D.C. (“Main Justice”) assigned to your case, although he or she may have limited involvement. There will be an Assistant United States Attorney (“AUSA”) from the United States Attorney’s Office (“USAO”), and the local USAO may have its own staff investigators who may attend the interview.
There may also be an attorney and/or an investigator from whichever agency (or agencies) that have been ripped off. For instance, if you allege a doctor’s office has falsely billed Medicare and Medicaid, there may be an investigator from the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) and perhaps an attorney or investigator from the Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services (“CMS”). If, on the other hand, your case involves manufacturing of helicopters for the armed forces, then depending on how widely the equipment is distributed, we may have alphabet soup, with representatives from the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (“DoD OIG”), Army Office of Inspector General (“Army OIG”), Navy Inspector General (“Navy IG”) and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (“AF-OSI”).
Depending on the district, your interview may be attended by FBI agents or investigators from the criminal branches of the above agencies. This may mean that the government is considering a criminal action in your case – but for some districts, a criminal division AUSA and/or FBI agent attend most or all Relator’s interviews, just to be sure that there is no overlap with other open investigations and to say whether criminal has any interest in pursuing the matter.
Finally, if you have a Medicaid case, there will usually be a representative from the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (“NAMFCU”). NAMFCU coordinates the efforts for all of the states involved in the case, and may have their own investigators present.
With all of that, some Relator’s interviews are small – the AUSA, the relator, and the relator’s counsel. On the other end of the spectrum, some feel like conferences; I have attended a few that had more than a dozen investigators and attorney representatives. Most are somewhere in the middle, with an AUSA, an investigator or two, a DOJ representative (often on the telephone), a NAMFCU representative, and Relator’s team.
With literally hundreds of Relator’s interviews under our belt, Bracker & Marcus are in a good position to have you well prepared for talking to all of these folks!
Stay tuned for the next installment of this series, Part IV: What happens at the Relator’s Interview?