Wisconsin Home Health Agency and Its Owner to Pay $3.7 Million to Settle False Claims Act Lawsuit

Nov 18, 2015, 18:18 ET from Milberg LLP

NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Milberg LLP today announced that the United States Department of Justice, the Wisconsin Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General and a whistleblower represented by the firm have reached an agreement with Wisconsin-based Deaconess Home Health, Inc., formerly known as Outreach Healthcare ("Deaconess"), a home health agency located in Milwaukee, and its owner, Lazarus Bonilla, to resolve civil fraud liability under the Federal False Claims Act ("FCA") and the Wisconsin Medicaid False Claims Act ("Wisconsin MFCA") for $3.7 million.

The government joined three separate whistleblower ("qui tam") lawsuits to resolve allegations that Deaconess submitted false claims to Wisconsin Medicaid for:  (1) personal care worker services that were not provided, that were not provided pursuant to appropriate supervision by Deaconess, or that were not medically necessary, and (2) for personal care services that were referred or ordered in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. section 3720a-7(b).  Milberg represented G. Paul Komlodi, one of three whistleblowers and who worked at Decaoness as a former patient case manager and quality assurance employee in 2011. 

Milberg attorneys, Anna C. Dover and Rolando G. Marquez, and local counsel Sean D'O. Bosack of the law firm Godfrey & Kahn, S.C., represented Mr. Komlodi in his lawsuit against Deaconess and Mr. Bonilla.  Mr. Komlodi, along with the two other whistleblowers, will receive a share of the government's recovery.

Mr. Komlodi's lawsuit was filed in October 2011 in the Eastern District of Wisconsin under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the FCA and parallel provisions of the Wisconsin MFCA.  These provisions permit private parties to sue on behalf of the federal and state governments and when they believe an individual or company has submitted false claims for government funds.  Whistleblowers are entitled to a share of between 15-25 percent of the settlement proceeds in successful cases in which the government intervenes.

"We are pleased with this result as this case serves as another example of how the False Claims Act empowers Americans to help fight fraud on the government and American taxpayers, no matter how big or small the fraud may be.  It demonstrates how workers at any level within a company can make a difference by exposing fraud," said Milberg partner Anna C. Dover.

The government's investigation was led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Gerber Ward of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and was assisted by agents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Mr. Komlodi's case is U.S. and State of Wisconsin ex rel. Komlodi v. Outreach Healthcare Inc., et al., Case No. 11-C-973, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

For more information about the case, please contact Anna C. Dover at adover@milberg.com or Rolando G. Marquez at rmarquez@milberg.com in the firm's New York office, (212) 594-5300.

About Milberg

Founded in 1965, Milberg LLP is widely recognized as a leading class action and complex litigation firm, representing individual and institutional investors, unions, consumers, and whistleblowers.  In addition to having litigated landmark cases resulting in groundbreaking legal precedents and corporate governance reforms benefitting shareholders, Milberg also maintains an active whistleblower, or "qui tam," practice.  Milberg has returned hundreds of millions of dollars to federal and state treasuries in both intervened and non-intervened qui tam cases, including United States ex rel. Mortgage Now, Inc. v. Bank of America Corp. (WD NC 3:12cv360-MOC-DSC) (Relator's action alleging that Bank of America had improperly recouped insurance proceeds from HUD to which it was not entitled was settled as part of the $16.65 billion global settlement regarding Bank of America's mortgage practices – the largest civil settlement with a single entity in American history) and Mason v. Medline Industries, Inc., et al., No. 07-cv-5615 (N.D. Ill.) (Government declined to intervene in Relator's action alleging unlawful kickbacks, bribes, and other illegal remuneration to induce health care providers to continue to purchase defendant's medical supplies and yet the case settled for $85 million – one of the largest settlements of a non-intervened FCA case to date).

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