Chicago Attorney Michael I. Behn Spotlights Whistleblowers’ Contributions at National Meeting of Medicaid Fraud Prosecutors

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Whistleblowers' lawyer Michael I. Behn of Chicago, Illinois, recently spoke at the annual training conference for the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (NAMFCU). The NAMFCU brings state prosecutors and investigators together from throughout the country to coordinate efforts to investigate and prosecute fraud in the Medicaid program. Medicaid provides healthcare to persons most in need. Behn shared his experience effectively prosecuting Medicaid fraud by teaming whistleblowers and their attorneys with state prosecutors.

"State Attorneys General have created a potent force to combat Medicaid fraud by leading investigations with their federal colleagues, whistleblowers and whistleblowers' lawyers," said Michael I. Behn, a former federal prosecutor who now represents whistleblowers.

Whistleblowers' lawyer Michael I. Behn of Chicago, Illinois, recently spoke at the annual training conference for the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (NAMFCU). NAMFCU’s annual training brought together over 300 state prosecutors and investigators from throughout the country to coordinate efforts to fight fraud in the Medicaid program. Medicaid provides healthcare to persons most in need and is funded by the states and federal government.

Behn spoke at the “Roundtable with Whistleblower’s Counsel,” which was moderated by Nick Paul, Supervising Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice. Other whistleblower attorneys on the panel were Jeb White, President of Taxpayers Against Fraud, and Jennifer Verkamp, of Morgan Verkamp LLC, based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

For over 40 years, NAMFCU has played a pivotal role in coordinating nationwide efforts of the federally certified Medicaid fraud control units. "The states have demonstrated powerful leadership in prosecuting Medicaid fraud under state False Claims Acts," said Behn, a former federal prosecutor in New York. "State Attorneys General have created a potent force to combat Medicaid fraud by leading investigations with their federal colleagues, whistleblowers and whistleblowers' lawyers to protect taxpayers from liars, cheats and thieves."

Behn highlighted the key role that whistleblowers play in uncovering Medicaid fraud by bringing a case under the “qui tam” provisions of state and federal False Claims Acts. These qui tam provisions encourage private citizens with knowledge of wrongdoing to help the government prosecute Medicaid fraud, procurement fraud and other frauds against taxpayers. False Claims Acts allow the government to collect up to three times the amount defrauded, in addition to civil penalties. Behn noted that whistleblowers, known as "qui tam relators," can receive between 15 and 30 percent of the governments' recovery.

Behn has represented whistleblowers in several successful multi-state qui tam actions, which obtained large recoveries for Medicaid fraud. Behn garnered national attention for representing a pharmacist-whistleblower in the $179 million multi-state Medicaid fraud settlement with Johnson & Johnson for alleged fraud involving kickbacks paid to nursing homes (D. Mass. 07 CV 10288-RGS). The nursing homes’ pharmacy, Omnicare, also paid $99 million for its alleged role (D.Mass., No. 07-10026-RGS).

Behn and his client also recovered over $120 million in multi-state Medicaid fraud settlements of drug switching allegations against Walgreens, CVS, and Omnicare. All three qui tam whistleblower cases were filed under federal and state False Claims Acts in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, Illinois, docket numbers 03 C 744 (Walgreens), 03 C 742 (CVS) and 01 C 7433 (Omnicare).

Behn founded the whistleblowers' law firm Behn & Wyetzner, Chartered, with his partner, employment-lawyer Linda Wyetzner. Behn was the first whistleblowers' "Lawyer of the Year" honoree by Washington, D.C.-based Taxpayers Against Fraud. Behn was also recently featured on the CBS “Whistleblower” program for representing clients who obtained a $134 million settlement for alleged fraud in the B-2 “Stealth” and F-15 fighter programs (NDIL 89 C 6111).

Further details about Behn & Wyetzner, Chartered, qui tam actions, relators, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, pharmaceutical and pharmacy fraud, and procurement fraud can be found at http://www.BehnWyetzner.com.

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