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Consumer Fraud 1449 articles

Flint Administrator’s Whistleblower Retaliation Suit Revived on Appeal

A former Flint, Michigan city administrator’s whistleblower retaliation complaint against the city has been revived by a federal appeals court. According to Michigan Radio, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said there’s a key dispute over significant facts in Natasha Henderson’s whistleblower claim that a jury should sort out. “Henderson has mustered sufficient circumstantial evidence of a retaliatory motive to prevent summary judgment,” Circuit Judge Jane B. Stranch wrote in an opinion as part of a three-judge panel, according to MLive. In August 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox dismissed Ms. Henderson’s complaint against the city of Flint, ... Read More

Pain Clinic Operator Busted for Opioid, Medicare Fraud

A nurse practitioner whose New Hampshire pain clinic wrote hundreds of opioid painkiller prescriptions for Medicare beneficiaries in “drive-by” office visits has pleaded guilty to charges of health care and prescription fraud, federal officials announced. New Hampshire U.S. Attorney Scott Murray said that Kristen Khanna, the operator of Total Pain Care and Wellness of Salem, New Hampshire, allowed a non-professional office worker to write opioid prescriptions to Medicare beneficiaries. According to the U.S. Attorney’s announcement, Ms. Khanna left the office employee with a pad of blank prescription forms that she signed. The employee would then fill them out and give ... Read More

Mercedes-Benz Sued Over Allegedly Dangerously Defective Transmissions

Certain Mercedes-Benz vehicles with 722.9 7G-Tronic transmissions are the basis of a class-action lawsuit alleging the transmissions have a dangerous defect that allows them to suddenly slip into low gear and fail prematurely. The class-action covers owners and lessees of Mercedes vehicles with the allegedly defective transmissions in California and Kansas. According to CarComplaints.com, the lawsuit alleges that technical service bulletins Mercedes sent to dealerships show that the automaker knew of the safety defect yet took no measures to warn its customers or recall the vehicles. The safety defect is so common that at one point Mercedes was unable to ... Read More

Wells Fargo Customers Reporting Unauthorized Amazon Charges

Scores of Wells Fargo customers are reporting unauthorized Amazon Prime charges on their debit cards even when they aren’t a Prime member. So far, the fraudulent charges, which are initiated by an unknown source, appear to be clustered in the Richmond, Virginia area, according to Richmond’s WWBT NBC12. Several other cases have been reported in North Carolina and Kentucky. An Amazon spokesperson said it is aware of the fraudulent charges and says that Wells Fargo customers should take the issue up with the bank. However, if the fraudulent charges continue to appear after alerting Wells Fargo, then consumers are advised ... Read More

SEC Awards 3 Whistleblowers $55.5 Million in Two Separate Cases

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Whistleblower Office recently announced it has paid out more than $55.5 million to three whistleblowers who assisted regulators in stopping violations, fraud, and other misconduct harming investors. On Sept. 6, the SEC said that it had awarded two whistleblowers who assisted regulators in the same case. One whistleblower will receive a $39 million award – the agency’s second-largest payout to date – and the other will receive a $15 million award for providing “critical information and continued assistance” that helped the SEC crack down on the offending company. On Sept. 14, the SEC ... Read More

FTC Shuts Down Military Copycat Websites

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said it has resolved civil charges against two Alabama-based companies that ran copycat military websites to trick potential recruits into submitting their personal information, which they then sold to post-secondary schools for profit. According to the FTC, Sunkey Publishing Inc. and Fanmail.com LLC have agreed to surrender Army.com, Armyenlist.com, Navyenlist.com, and other domain names. The agency said the companies used the websites to generate admissions leads, which they sold to post-secondary schools for $15-$40 per lead. The FTC’s complaint alleged that the companies created the copycat websites to appear to be official recruiting websites affiliated ... Read More

Price Gouging Laws In Effect As Hurricane Florence Barrels Into the Carolinas

Hurricanes bring widespread destruction with them but they also bring out the best of human nature when residents and communities pull together to help each another recover. Unfortunately, hurricanes can also reveal the shady side of some individuals and businesses when they take advantage of a hurricane or other crisis to inflate prices excessively. Price-gouging takes many forms, from a $10 gallon of gas to thousands of dollars for a tree removal. As Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas, government officials urged residents to report any instances of price gouging they encounter. “My office is here to protect North ... Read More

Florida Opioid Pill Mill Doctor, Staff Go to Prison

A South Florida doctor busted for illegally dispensing prescription opioid painkillers to cash-paying “patients” has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison. Dr. Andres Mecia, 64, of Fort Lauderdale, ran an opioid pill mill in his Oakland Park, Florida clinic, Adult & Geriatric Institute of Florida Inc., which operated under the name AGI Medical & Dental. According to the government’s allegations, Dr. Mencia and office personnel — Oscar Luis Ventura-Rodriguez, 41, of Ft. Lauderdale; Nadira Sampath-Grant, 51, of Margate, and John Mensah, 50, of Miami, performed sham consultations with patients seeking opioid drugs. In these consultations, Dr. Mencia and his co-conspirators ... Read More

Houston Psychiatrist Gets 12 Years For Health care Fraud Scheme

A Houston, Texas, psychiatrist convicted by a federal jury of engaging in a $155 million health care fraud scheme has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison. Riyaz Mazcuri, 67, a former attending psychiatrist at Riverside General Hospital in Houston, received the sentence after a five-day trial that found him guilty on five counts of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In addition to the prison sentence, federal Judge Vanessa Gilmore in Houston ordered Dr. Mazcuri to pay $20.6 million in restitution to Medicare and $2.25 million in restitution to Medicaid. ... Read More

Aetna’s Opioid Fraud Lawsuit Against Insys Allowed to Stand

Insys Therapeutics must face a lawsuit filed by Aetna accusing the drug company of duping the health care insurance corporation into paying claims for Subsys prescriptions when the potent opioid painkiller was prescribed for unapproved, off-label purposes. U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe in Philadelphia refused to toss Aetna’s complaint in an Aug. 23 ruling. The lawsuit against Insys is one of several similar lawsuits filed by health insurers who accuse the drug maker of defrauding them into paying for Subsys prescriptions that were not just inappropriate but dangerous. Insys manufactured Subsys, the brand name for fentanyl, as a last-resort opioid ... Read More