False Claims Act Defense

Corporations and individuals who are the subject of a federal investigation need a lawyer with sound judgment informed by years of experience addressing the unique challenges of the False Claims Act.

Unparalleled experience for extraordinary challenges.

For eleven years, Ben Vernia led complex investigations for the U.S. Department of Justice. From 1994 to 2002, Ben was a Trial Attorney in the Fraud Section of the Civil Division. As a Trial Attorney, he received first-chair responsibility in dozens of cases. Most of these matters involved parallel criminal and civil proceedings; all were complex cases requiring the rapid assessment of both a difficult factual terrain and the key legal obligations imposed by regulations or government contracts.

Ben served as lead counsel or co-first chair in multi-week trials while in the Fraud Section. In dozens more, he drafted and filed complaints, conducted discovery, and reached settlements, often after extensive mediation or mini-trials. He has filed or defended countless motions, conducted well over one hundred twenty False Claims Act depositions (including many under the Act's Civil Investigative Demand provision), and reviewed and organized large collections of electronic and paper records.

As an attorney in the Department's Criminal Division, Ben was given principal responsibility for the most significant cases in the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. While there, he led grand jury investigations, employing document and testimonial subpoenas, search warrants, Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty Requests, and interviews. He worked with agents from the FBI, the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and numerous state and local law enforcement agencies. He coordinated simultaneous takedowns of suspects, premises searches, and the seizure and analysis of personal computers and Internet-based servers.

In eight years of private practice after his government service, Ben has worked on cutting-edge, bet-the-company investigations and settlements. He brings to clients a first-hand knowledge of the federal investigative process, and experience on dozens of criminal, civil and parallel cases.

Broad Knowledge

Our attorneys have worked on False Claims Act cases whose combined valued exceeds $3 billion - from small, $100,000 cases to billon-dollar settlements. In addition, we have conducted extensive investigations in a large number of additional matters.

Our attorneys have worked on matters involving:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services
  • The Department of Defense
  • The Social Security Administration
  • The Department of Homeland Security
  • The Department of State
  • The Department of Education
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • The Department of Transportation
  • The Department of Energy
  • The Federal Communications Commission
  • The Federal Reserve
  • NASA
  • The Government Accountability Office
  • The Export-Import Bank

Why hire lawyers who also represent whistleblowers?

Some firms under investigation may be suspicious of hiring a law firm that represents False Claims Act whistleblowers in other matters. Although that concern is understandable, consider the benefits of this additional experience:

In the course of our whistleblower cases, we work closely with Department of Justice attorneys, agencies’ Inspector General agents — as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services, and every branch of the Armed Forces.

This cooperation gives us unique and valuable knowledge of the Government's evolving enforcement priorities and procedures. We also bring to our False Claims Act defense work the credibility we gain by assisting the Government on whistleblowers' cases.

The additional perspective we get from representing qui tam relators greatly benefits the clients we defend. Let us help you.

Significant False Claims Act Defense Cases

The Vernia Law Firm has represented companies and individuals in a variety of False Claims Act defense cases. Among those that can be publicly disclosed:

A medical device distributor against kickback allegations under Medicare's Civil Monetary Penalty Law.
The Chief Operating Officer of a diagnostic imaging company, personally accused in a qui tam suit against the company.
Pharmaceutical companies and their employees in the investigation and defense of over a dozen False Claims Act qui tam suits and related criminal investigations.
A sales representative for a medical device company in a grand jury investigation of off-label promotion of the company's devices.
Three ambulance companies in defending an unusual "reverse" False Claims Act suit by the federal government.
Pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the negotiation and implementation of Corporate Integrity Agreements.
A major American importer in an internal investigation of allegations of falsification of customs documents.
A construction executive who testified against a defendant in an extortion trial, in the successful defense of a suspension and proposed debarment by the Department of Transportation.
Managers of a home health care company identified as targets of a federal grand jury investigation of alleged Medicaid fraud.

Authoritative Resources for Government Fraud Matters

Each year, Ben Vernia and Andrew Murray edit the False Claims Act and Government Fraud Deskbook, a multi-volume compilation of the federal, state, and local antifraud laws commonly encountered by criminal and civil attorneys and judges.

The Deskbook is available for purchase through Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

For current government fraud news, please follow our blog,FalseClaimsCounsel.