Some companies, even global conglomerates, simply flaunt the law to gain a competitive edge. Some know they will eventually pay for their wrongdoing monetarily but build it into their budgets. Their competition suffers. Now, however, executives in various industries who learn their competition is breaking the law to get a step up, are using whistleblower laws to end. In fact, the most successful whistleblower in U.S. history is a small Florida company called Ven-A-Care Inc. of Key West, which has secured whistleblower awards for itself, exceeding $597.6 million and recovering more than $3 billion for the U.S. Government.
Here is the back story: a small local pharmacy in the Florida Keys called Ven-A-Care dispensed infusion therapy drugs to teach AIDS patients to treat themselves and avoid weeks in the hospital. In the late 1990’s a national health-care chain came to Key West and enlisted local doctors by offering them padded insurance reimbursements.
Ven-A Care nearly went under. However, the owners of the company decided to investigate how the national company, NMC, was making so much money. They learned that it was overbilling Medicare and routinely reporting inflated princes causing Medicare and Medicaid to pay inflated prices. Ven-A-Care filed its first whistleblower lawsuit in 1995 and then found out other companies were doing the same and filed many lawsuits after that, across the nation. By last year, it had recovered over $3 billion for Uncle Sam and collected nearly $600 million in whistleblower rewards under The False Claims Act. In addition, it was able to regain market position in the keys.
This is just one of many companies which have become whistleblowers against unscrupulous competitors. Stay tuned.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.