Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Judge Tosses Suit Against UnitedHealth, Contractor Gets Sentence for Iraq Fraud & Investment Trading Scheme

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team

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UnitedHealth Group wins a round in whistleblower suit

A federal judge has tossed out a U.S. government lawsuit accusing UnitedHealth Group of overcharging Medicare.

The case is one of two whistleblower lawsuits alleging similar conduct. In one, the government says wrongful payments to UnitedHealth exceed $1 billion.

The U.S. Department of Justice contends the big health insurer violated the federal False Claims Act so it could collect more money in Medicare reimbursements. read more »

Contractor gets 3-year sentence for Iraq fraud that cost U.S. millions

A former government contractor who helped scam the State Department out of millions of dollars was sentenced Friday to three years in prison.

Jose Rivera, 57, of Potomac, Md., worked with two others to trick the contractor DynCorp into paying a grossly inflated rent for a training camp in Iraq, according to prosecutors.

The State Department ultimately footed the bill for the property, which came out to over $5.3 million.

Judge Leonie M. Brinkema said a serious sentence was required to “make sure other people involved in government contracting know that if they commit fraud, even over there, there will be consequences.” read more »

Investment Adviser Charged in Multi-Million Dollar Options Trading Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a Westchester, New York-based investment adviser with fraud stemming from lies to retail investors about the value of their investments in a Ponzi-like scheme.

The SEC alleges that, starting in approximately 2010, Michael Scronic began to raise money from at least 42 friends and acquaintances, many of whom were from his suburban community, in order to invest in a risky options trading strategy. He allegedly lured investors by informing them that he had a long and impressive track record of proven returns. He also allegedly lied to investors about the liquidity of investments, telling one investor that "what's cool about my fund is that i'm [sic] only in publicly traded options and cash so any redemptions are met within 2 business days so if you do need to withdraw for your business needs it will be quick and painless." However, the SEC alleges that Scronic was actually hemorrhaging investor money through massive trading losses, with at least $15 million in investment losses since April 2010. For the period ending June 30, 2017, Scronic allegedly reported to investors total assets of at least $21,837,475 while the balance in his brokerage account on June 30, 2017 was just under $27,500. read more »

Mortgage Company President Pleads Guilty to $2.5M Fraud

The president of a Massachusetts mortgage company has pleaded guilty in a $2.5 million mortgage fraud.

The U.S. attorney's office says 68-year-old Robert Pena, of Falmouth, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and six counts of wire fraud on Wednesday. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 5.

Pena acknowledged his misconduct at the helm of Mortgage Security Inc.

Prosecutors say the company was supposed to service loans, then send payments on to the government-backed mortgage enterprise Ginnie Mae.

Instead, Pena took money that borrowers sent in to pay off their mortgages, or which were supposed to go into escrow accounts or mortgage insurance premiums. He then made false reports to Ginnie Mae about the status of the loans.