Bloomberg Law Speaks With Habib Ilahi on Anticipated Healthcare Fraud Claims

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Partner Habib Ilahi was recently quoted in a Bloomberg Law article, Wave of Whistleblower Suits Predicted Over Virus Relief Aid, focused on an anticipated wave of healthcare fraud litigation on COVID-19.

The reporter stated the False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to pursue cases even if the Justice Department decides not to intervene and violators can be ordered to pay triple the amount in damages. A whistleblower is entitled to 15% to 25% of the amount recovered if the government intervenes in the action and up to 30% if the government declines to intervene and the whistleblower proceeds with the action and prevails.

“That could be an incentive for people who felt there was something improper,” said Habib Ilahi, a partner at Stinson LLP and former federal prosecutor with the fraud section of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. Regarding the ambiguity of the terms and conditions associated with health care providers accepting CARES Act relief funds, “How are providers supposed to distinguish whether expenses or lost revenue are attributable to Covid or some other cause? There could be a decrease in a particular type of patient or there could be a variety of other reasons why you have lost revenue other than the coronavirus,” he said.

Ilahi also noted that under the terms and conditions, Covid-19 relief funding can’t be used to reimburse expenses or lost revenue if that money can be reimbursed by another source.

Ilahi is a trusted partner on health care and business litigation matters, he counsels business entities and individuals in highly regulated industries through complex health care, procurement, and other government enforcement investigations and litigation, as well as through general white collar criminal and civil defense matters.

As a former federal prosecutor with the Fraud Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, he worked exclusively on matters involving the False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law. He has experience advising and representing pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, hospital systems, national nursing home and long term care facility chains, large and small businesses, and a variety of other types of health care providers in high-stakes investigations and litigation involving Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and other health care programs.

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