DOJ Considers Guidance on Corporate Claims of Inability to Pay

On September 12, 2019, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matthew Miner signaled that the Department of Justice may provide further guidance to prosecutors—and companies—on how to evaluate claims of corporate poverty.  In a speech at the University of Texas School of Law’s 6th Annual Government Enforcement Institute,  Miner stated that the DOJ has been considering the issuance of “concrete guidance or factors to consider” to assist prosecutors in their evaluation of companies who claim that they are unable to pay DOJ-assessed fines and penalties for their misconduct. … More

Eleventh Circuit Holds Differences in Clinical Judgment Do Not Create FCA Liability for Hospice Provider

The Eleventh Circuit agreed with the trial court that the government must do more than present expert evidence that a physician’s clinical judgment was inaccurate to establish falsity under the False Claims Act.  Nonetheless, the appellate court remanded for the trial court to consider additional evidence that, the government contends, establish falsity even under the standard now set by the Eleventh Circuit.

At issue was whether AseraCare Inc.… More

No False Claim Where Relator Merely Analyzes or Interprets Publicly Available Data

The Massachusetts Superior Court recently held that a qui tam relator’s analysis of publicly available information was subject to the public disclosure bar and that, no matter how involved or expert that analysis was, the relator was not the original source of the information alleged in the complaint.  Thus, in Commonwealth ex rel. Johan Rosenberg v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., et al., SUCV2014-03323, Judge Kaplan,… More

American Airlines Settles False Claims Act Allegations for Misreporting Mail Delivery Times

Last week the Department of Justice announced that American Airlines will pay over $22 million to settle claims that it falsely reported delivery times for mail it delivered on behalf of the United States Postal Service.

Under a contract between USPS and American, the airline was responsible for picking up U.S. mail from various receptacles in the United States and in U.S. government offices abroad,… More

Latest FCA Settlement Involving Massachusetts Lab Highlights Federal/State Cooperation

Late last month the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut issued a press release regarding the latest False Claims Act (FCA) settlement involving the healthcare industry in New England.  According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Clinical Science Laboratory, Inc. (CSL) and its individual owners agreed to pay over $1.5 million to settle claims that they had violated federal and state FCA laws.  The government stated that Massachusetts-based CSL provided urine drug testing services for substance abuse patients in Connecticut,… More

IRS Criminal Investigation Update: The “New” Voluntary Disclosure Practice

In September 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) closed its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP), which had, in various forms and at various times since 2009, provided a mechanism for taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts to come clean and avoid criminal liability.  While this was a noteworthy development and made the news given how hard the IRS had pushed in the recent past for compliance in this area,… More

Massachusetts Regulators Placing Increased Focus on Cannabis-Related Securities Offerings

Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin and his Securities Division are increasingly turning their attention toward securities offerings in the cannabis industry, as demonstrated by the June 19, 2019 filing of the second enforcement action against a cannabis business in the last two months.  The filing was accompanied by a statement from Galvin warning of future sweeps in the industry.

The latest enforcement action, brought against Positronic Farms,… More

Supreme Court Revives False Claims Act Suit by Applying “Government Knowledge” Statute of Limitations

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Thomas, agreed with the Eleventh Circuit that the False Claims Act’s “government knowledge” statute of limitations applies regardless of whether the government chooses to intervene in a qui tam suit.

Under the False Claims Act, a civil action must be filed by the later of 1) six years after the statutory violation, or  2) three years after the relevant facts are “known or reasonably should have been known by the official of the United States charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances.”  The Act also bars all claims brought more than ten years after the violation. … More

Court Warns Government Agencies Against Directing Internal Company Investigations

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently criticized government agencies for outsourcing their investigation to the target company, Deutsche Bank, and its counsel, Paul Weiss, to such a degree that the court treated statements that an employee made to internal investigators as the product of government interrogation.  United States v. Connolly, No. 16 Cr. 0370 (CM), 2019 U.S. Dist.… More

Trends in Securities Enforcement Discussed at BBA’s White Collar Conference

We have been writing about white-collar enforcement trends discussed at the Boston Bar Association’s recent White Collar Crime Conference (see here and here). Today we look at one area that was the subject of much discussion at the conference: securities enforcement.

Paul Levenson, Director of the Boston Regional Office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that the SEC is looking closely at microcap fraud,… More