Articles Tagged with Whistleblower Settlement

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Massachusetts False Claims Act lawsuit revealed that unqualified unsupervised South Bay employees provided “mental health treatment” to thousands of Massachusetts residents

BOSTON, MA. Mental health services provider South Bay Mental Health, Inc. and its parent companies Community Intervention Services, Inc. and Community Intervention Services Holdings, Inc. have agreed to pay $4 million to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to settle the Commonwealth’s allegations that South Bay used unqualified, unsupervised mental health workers and unqualified Supervisors to treat its patients in Massachusetts, and they fraudulently billed MassHealth (Medicaid) and its payor contracted companies for these services.

The whistleblower who originally brought the action, Christine Martino-Fleming, is represented by Jeffrey A. Newman of Jeffrey Newman Law Boston and Marblehead and his co-counsel Waters & Kraus of Dallas, Texas. In the Complaint, Ms. Martino Fleming, a former Job Coach and later Coordinator of Staff Development and Training for South Bay, revealed detailed information alleging that South Bay was well aware of its wrongdoing. and that in fact it commissioned its own internal investigation through “Tiger Teams” which issued reports specifically concluding that South Bay’s Supervisors and Mental Health workers were not qualified in accordance with laws and regulations. In addition, in many cases, the Directors of the various South Bay clinics located in various parts of the state, themselves were not properly qualified and credentialed, according to the Complaint. When Ms. Fleming realized the extent of the wrongdoing, she sent several emails to her superiors notifying them of the problems but nothing was done. The Complaint alleges that the Defendants Scanlon, Sheehan and South Bay had specific knowledge of the ongoing fraud. The Complaint says that during the period 2009-2015 “South Bay allowed its unlicensed, inexperienced and unqualified counselors to treat patients with mental health issues without the supervision of qualified Supervisors, many of whom were unlicensed.”  According to South Bay’s web site, over 35,000 individuals are treated each year.

SEPT/OCT 2012: Military contractor Applied Research Associates (ARA) with offices in Vermont, has agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle a whistleblower case alleging the company fraudulently billed Uncle Sam on a multi-year contract with the Army. The whistleblower, former ARA engineer Brent Boerger of Vt. was represented by Jeffrey A. Newman of Boston and Marblehead. Mr. Boerger will share in the settlement pursuant to the federal False Claims Act. Applied Research Associates is a defense contracting firm headquartered in New Mexico.BoergerComplaint4.4.2011

The False Claims Act case, filed in federal court in Burlington Vermont, by Attorney Jeffrey A. Newman, alleged fraudulent billing for work performed by ARA’s employees that was unrelated to a government contract for a project known as “Nemesis.” The Nemesis project was a multi-year, successive contract project spanning about ten years. ARA billed under the contract for work performed on a number of other projects. Mr. Boerger alleged that the work on other projects was not pertinent to research or development of the humanitarian de-mining system identified in the contract. SEE BoergerComplaint4.4.2011

The federal qui tam statute 31 U.S.C. Section 3730 allows a whistleblower to file a civil complaint on behalf of the United States. The filing of the complaint allows the government to decide whether to intervene in the action. The government intervenes in only 23% of all False Claims Actions filed each year. The Government intervened in this case in September 2012. Tristam J. Coffin United States Attorney for Vermont commended Mr. Boerger for coming forward and reporting the ARA billing practice on the Nemesis contract. “His efforts led to a federal investigation that we believe furthered the integrity and accountability in federal contract programs, and his cooperation and assistance was tremendously helpful to our work.” He said.  The United States was represented during the investigation by Civil Chief Carol L. Shea of Burlington Vt.