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Houston Legal Blog

Arsenal of tools to probe, prosecute medical fraud ever-expanding

Government regulators and law enforcers -- both federal and state, working singly and in concert -- have unquestionably ratcheted up fraud-linked investigatory efforts in recent years.

Their resolve has been coupled with deep money reserves and considerable manpower marked by task forces and broad-based agency involvement. It has also been clearly on display across the country, including prominently in Texas (please see any number of our blog posts at Hilder & Associates featuring a Texas-tied fraud connection).

Can a corporate entity be charged with criminal activity?

Today’s blog focus at Hilder Law is on corporate liability, specifically within the criminal sphere.

That spells subject matter that is immediately important for virtually any commercial enterprise. We note on the website of our long-established Houston criminal defense firm that potential liability for a corporation itself (not just individual actors within it) can raise especially strong concerns in business realms like the financial and energy sectors. We represent many valued and diverse clients in those industries and note that criminal prosecution of their businesses “can have dire consequences.”

Medicare fraud case underscores false billing, kickbacks

Texas, specifically Harris County often features in stories involving large health care fraud cases. Texas is home to legions of medical centers and care providers in every specialty. The frequency of Medicare and Medicaid billing in the region often spurs the attention of government agencies and regulators.

That was once again evidenced via a recently concluded federal court case. In that matter, a jury convicted a prominent Harris County physician on several criminal counts tied to a long-term Medicare fraud scheme. Those charges included conspiracy to commit health care fraud and to solicit/receive kickbacks.

Government officials alleged that the fraud pilfered $16 million from the government and taxpayers. Several co-conspirators were tried and convicted in trials held prior to the doctor's proceeding.

The fraud allegedly occurred over a near five-year period, centrally involving bogus care plans billed to Medicare and payments to patients willing to sign up for services that were never delivered.

We stress on our Hilder & Associates website the severity - that is, the sheer scope and might - of medical fraud probes brought by government enforces.

The above-cited story is an in-depth media report on the investigation notes the FBI's central involvement and the dominant role played by the Medicare Strike Force under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division. The story notes that the Strike unit has since inception brought criminal charges against more than 4,200 defendants alleged to have committed health care fraud.

What does the FBI consider corporate fraud?

Running a company requires a significant commitment. You may spend your workdays doing what you can to help it succeed. Then one day, you hear either from someone or from an agent directly that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has questions regarding your business practices.

Perhaps the agent asking questions suspects corporate fraud, and you begin to wonder whether you need to seek out legal representation before the inquiry goes any further. The simple answer to that question is that doing so would more than likely be a good idea in order to protect your rights and the company's rights.

Ponzi scheme: Texas men targeted in both criminal, civil cases

Federal and state agencies prominently elevated financial crimes to a top-tier investigatory category several year ago, during the so-called Great Recession that spawned a major economic crisis.

We note on a Hilder & Associates website page focused upon Ponzi scheme investigations and defense that potent task forces from both the criminal and civil realms conduct aggressive probes against alleged wrongdoers.

Don't Shoot the Whistleblower Messenger

The President's disturbing and aggressive counterattack against the White House Whistleblower reporting the President's potential wrongdoing crosses acceptable norms and guts the underlying core of whistleblower laws by discouraging citizens from coming forward for fear of governmental retaliation. Intimidation and retaliation against a conscientious citizen is not acceptable behavior and may amount to a federal criminal offense.

Spotlighting bribery: the fundamentals of a criminal act

Many crimes contain elements and requirements that are inherently complex and not widely understood by the general public. Understanding a charge involving the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), for example, can be difficult even for attorneys who don’t regularly deal with that statutory law.

That is not the case with the white collar crime of bribery. Although the specifics of a given bribery charge/case might be complex and at issue, the fundamental meaning and thrust of bribery can be grasped even by many children.

Environmental law: intensive scheme linked with harsh penalties

Texas business principals know as well as their peers in any other state the vast nature of environmental regulatory laws and the punishing exactions that can be visited upon alleged offenders.

The state is an obvious focus for enforcers with oversight in that singular legal realm. Texas is the largest state by far in the continental United States. The topography of the Lone Star State is dramatically diverse, with features ranging from expansive plains to mountainous regions. The state’s waterways are extensive. Texas’ geography allows for activities ranging from hunting, fishing and ranching to agricultural pursuits, mining, oil/gas operations and more.

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Contact Houston White Collar Lawyers for Experienced Representation

If you or your company is under investigation, charged or indicted for federal or state crimes, or you want to ensure future compliance, contact Hilder & Associates, P.C., for more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Houston white collar criminal defense lawyer.

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