What to Expect in a Federal Health Care Fraud Case
In these types of investigations, there are generally informants who for some reason or another are in a position where they want to provide information to the government about fraudulent billing. Sometimes they are whistleblowers who are people inside who believe that there is wrongdoing going on, do not want to get caught up in it, and also want it to stop. They will confidentially provide information to the government, which could launch an investigation. A Federal health care fraud case can be very tricky and overwhelming. Because of this, it is important to consult with an experienced federal health care fraud lawyer as soon as you can, if have been given a notice of investigation.
Expectations for Notice
These are some of the ways in which these investigations get started, but all cases involving health care fraud generally have tremendous paper trails and in these cases, a person can expect the government to seize their computers, their laptops, desktops, and mobile devices, copy all of the information that is contained therein, and then go through those files to look for information that they can use to prove their case.
Often times there will be a search warrant executed and that is usually a clue that the FBI was at their doctor’s office and they went through all my medical files.
Letter of Notice
Another way that a person can find out about such an investigation is to get a target letter from the United States Attorney’s Office telling them that they are the subject, or target, of an investigation. It will generally say that a grand jury investigation has opened and will advise them of certain rights that they have as a result of learning this information. Those are typical ways that people find out they are under federal investigation for health care fraud and those are some of the things that they can expect to occur.
A person can expect that they will ultimately be arrested and processed if those things have occurred.
Many times, with economic crimes such as health care fraud, judges will allow a defendant to be released pending trial with certain conditions but depending on again, the vastness of the network, the amount of harm that took place, the prior criminal history, the amount of people who are harmed, were there any deaths as a result of this alleged criminal behavior – all of these things will go into the conditions of pre-trial release. There is a lot of careful decision making that goes into a situation when someone is charged with a health care crime and it is important to the have a good advocate on their side who understands the system and can advise them of each step to take.
The most common mistake someone charged with health care fraud can make is to think that they can talk their way out of the charges with a federal law enforcement agent. In health care fraud investigations, agents come to someone’s home or business and execute a search warrant. Part of the objective is to catch the person when they are disoriented and afraid and attempt to get the person to consent to an interview with agents. When agents executed a search warrant in a home, a person should not talk to the agents. The only weapon the person has is silence. The best thing a person can do is just remain silent and polite.
Many people believe that if they speak the truth, everything will be fine. It will not be fine at that point because the agents want to get the person to confess to something they may or may not have done. They try to twist the person’s words because often those interviews are not recorded. So the best thing a person can do is to be quiet.
Another mistake is that people believe if they have nothing to hide, they should disclose information. That rarely works in their favor. If the agents are being truthful, they would tell the person that there is no downside to not disclosing information. There is only downside to making disclosures. The best thing people can do is to be quiet and call an attorney.
Consult an Attorney
A federal health care fraud case can become very intimidating, especially without the help of an attorney. If you have been charged with health care fraud make sure you know what to expect and what steps to take. The most important step to take is to contact a skilled federal health care fraud lawyer as soon as possible, so they can create a strong defense for you for the beginning of the case.