In today’s episode of Fraud in America, Sara McLean, a twenty-year veteran of the Department of Justice, shares her personal views on how America’s oldest whistleblower law, the False Claims Act, can be used to fight fraud on the government, including the Department’s newest priority – cases involving cyber security fraud.
The Department of Justice announced its Civil Cyber-Fraud initiative in October of 2021. Since then, the war in Ukraine has brought special urgency to this initiative. Cyber security affects everything from confidential patient information to national security and Ms. McLean restates DOJ’s message by calling on whistleblowers and their counsel to file cases in this area to help protect our vital modern infrastructures.
The DOJ has already been active, announcing the first successful settlement of a cyber security case on March 8, 2022. The case followed the pattern Ms. McLean says would be most successful, as a courageous whistleblower stepped forward with help from Relators’ counsel. He used the qui tam provisions that make it possible for an individual to file fraud cases under the False Claims Act.
The DOJ moved fast to settle the case and in that first settlement, TAF Members Rachel V. Rose and Josh M. Russ represented Shawn Lawler, DDS – a whistleblower who was concerned about the vulnerability of patient data maintained by a global health services provider, as well as the impact of not reporting potential Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) violations and alleged procurement fraud on his dental license.
As a result of these claims, Defendant Comprehensive Health Services paid $930,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by falsely representing to the State Department and the Air Force that it complied with contract requirements relating to the provision of medical services and goods at State Department and the Air Force facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Written by Rachel V. Rose of Rachel V. Rose – Attorney at Law, PLLC