Two recent whistleblower claims were settled within a week from each other.
One week after the New Mexico Department of Health settled a $225,000 claim brought by a former manager, a Mississippi based medical supply company, Pinnacle Solutions, settled a $1.8 million claim filed in Birmingham, Alabama against the company for defrauding the government insurance groups out of money for delivery of diabetic supplies to patients.
Pinnacle Solutions was charged with violating the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act states that any intentional false claims that may be filed that result in the payment of government funds to an individual or another entity could leave the offending individual, company, or program liable for up to three times the amount of damages the government incurred. That can equal up to $11,000 per fraudulent claim.
The claim was brought against Pinnacle in 2009 by two former employees. The person(s) who take the initiative to report the fraud are the whistle-blowers. Just like a teacher may blow a whistle in class when a student is doing something wrong, an employee is blowing the whistle on their employer when the employer’s conduct is considered to be inappropriate. Often time the fraud relates to deceive the government, but that is not always the case.
Many people find themselves in these situations every day, but we don’t always hear about it because many violations of the False Claims Act go unreported. Often times because someone is afraid to act as the whistle-blower. Whistle-blowing can often have negative repercussions for the person who decides to do the right thing and come forward. Whistle-blowers often face retaliation or termination. However, the False Claims Act does offer compensation to whistle-blower if the company is found liable.
As part of the Pinnacle Settlement, the whistleblowers can receive 15 percent to 25 percent of the money recovered in a case. However, the company did not make an admission that it is liable and the U.S. attorney’s office does not concede that its claims are not well founded.
"The resolution of this lawsuit means nearly two million taxpayer dollars that were used to reimburse false claims by Pinnacle Medical Solutions have been recovered," U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance stated in a press release.
For more information on the rights of whistleblowers, please visit https://www.whistle-blower-claims.com/