A pharmacy owner and two pharmacy workers have been indicted on charges of Medicare fraud, health care fraud, and identity theft after an investigation into an alleged plot to submit false claims to Medicaid and Medicare. Forty-five-year-old Reddy Vijay Annappareddy of Fallston, 30-year-old Vipinkumar Patel of Edgewood and 27-year-old Jigar Patel of Columbia were indicted Tuesday, July 23. The Patels are not related. According to the indictment, the three pharmacy workers searched for customers at two of their Bel Air pharmacies who had prescription refills available. They would file for reimbursement for the refills, and restocked medications that were never delivered or picked up. Prosecutors say that the health care and Medicare fraud took $2.6 million away from the government health programs. Reporting Medicare Fraud in a Whistleblower Lawsuit Medicare and Medicaid are government-sponsored health care programs that help the needy and the elderly cover health care costs associated with aging and disability. These programs are hugely important for people living on a fixed income, so it is incumbent upon doctors to honestly report costs both to patients and to the government. Unfortunately, not all health care providers are honest in their assessments. Some health care providers defraud the government, in violation of the False Claims Act, by overbilling for services, double billing, or billing for services not provided. The False Claims Act imposes liability on persons or corporations that defraud the government – and this includes doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes. The False Claims Act provides protection for those who report agencies or individuals who are defrauding the government. These lawsuits are called whistleblower, or qui tam, lawsuits. Under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, the relator (plaintiff) files an action on behalf of the U.S. Government. The Act allows a wide variety of people and entities to file a qui tam action. The whistleblower must have first-hand knowledge of the fraud. However, as an incentive for reporting the fraud, whistleblowers are eligible for 15-25% of any recovered damages.
The Strom Law Firm Protects Medicare Fraud Whistleblowers in South Carolina
Common whistleblower actions include:
- Medicare fraud,
- defense contractor fraud, and
- other kinds of fraud.
Qui tam lawsuits have been, and continue to be, a very effective and successful tool in combating government procurement and program fraud. Bolstered by amendments passed by Congress in 1986, the law has armed private citizens who have independent and direct knowledge of fraud, with a weapon to prosecute government contractors and others who are defrauding the Government. If you have first-hand knowledge of government fraud occurring at your place of employment or your doctor’s office, including Medicare fraud, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help protect your rights. In order to help the government provide the best possible services, Medicaid and Medicare fraud must be reported as soon as possible. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the complexity of qui tam and whistleblower suits, and we offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today.803.252.4800