Palm Beach Dermatologist to Pay $18 Million to Settle False Claims Act Lawsuit
According to a Department of Justice announcement, Gary L. Marder, D.O., a physician residing in Palm Beach County and owner and operator of the Allergy, Dermatology & Skin Cancer Centers in Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, and the United States of America have stipulated to a consent final judgment of over $18 million to settle False Claims Act allegations against Dr. Marder. Co-defendant, Robert I. Kendall, M.D., a physician practicing in Coral Gables, has also agreed to pay the United States $250,000 to settle allegations that he violated the False Claims Act.
The allegations arose from a qui tam lawsuit filed by whistleblower Theodore A. Schiff, M.D., alleging that Dr. Marder billed federal health care programs for medically unnecessary biopsies and radiation therapy services, falsely diagnosing patients with cancer, performing unnecessary radiation treatments on patients, and illegally billing those biopsies and radiation treatments. The lawsuit further alleged that Dr. Kendall submitted false claims to federal and state healthcare programs for laboratory services tainted by kickbacks to, and improper financial relationships with, Dr. Marder. The United States intervened in the Civil Action on October 14, 2014, and filed its Complaint in Intervention on November 19, 2014.
In September 2016, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of the United States with respect to several key issues in the case, finding that Dr. Marder knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare by requesting reimbursement for services that he never actually performed or directly supervised due to his frequent absence from his medical clinics (including expansive periods of foreign travel) on days corresponding to over fifty percent of the payments that Dr. Marder received from Medicare. The Court further found that all Dr. Marder’s claims for medical physicist services submitted to Medicare since 2011 were false, and that Dr. Marder had actual knowledge that a physicist did not perform the corresponding services. The Court made no determination of liability against Dr. Kendall in this matter.
“Doctors who are more concerned with boosting their profits at the expense of taxpayer-funded health care programs than they are with patient safety will be held accountable,” said Shimon R. Richmond, HHS-OIG Miami Special Agent in Charge. “Working with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to protect the integrity of federal health care programs and the patients served by those programs.”
About Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP
Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP focuses on complex civil litigation, including securities, antitrust, consumer class actions, shareholder derivative litigation and whistleblower (Qui Tam) litigation. The firm is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices in California, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Since its founding in 1995, Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP has served as lead or co-lead counsel in numerous high-profile cases which ultimately provided significant recoveries to investors, consumers and employees. To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys and to learn more about your legal rights, call our offices today at (877) 247-4292.
About T. Talyana Bromberg
Talyana Bromberg is a partner in Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP’s Pennsylvania office and chair of its False Claims Litigation group. Ms. Bromberg focuses her practice on representing whistleblowers in Medicare and Medicaid fraud cases, educational, financial, tax, defense contractors’ fraud and matters involving bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Ms. Bromberg was a lead attorney representing whistleblower Ronald Streck in the lawsuits against pharmaceutical manufacturers AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Cephalon, Inc., Biogen Inc., and Genzyme Corp. relating to underpayment of Medicaid rebates, with settlements totaling over $59.8 million. She represented whistleblowers in pharmaceutical lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories related to off-label promotion and payment of kickbacks for anti-seizure drug Depakote that resulted in a $1.6 billion settlement; against GlaxoSmithKline related to unlawful marketing tactics and kickbacks for GSK drug Advair for a $1.04 billion settlement; and against Pfizer for alleged illegal promotion of its kidney transplant drug Rapamune, resulting in $257 million settlement.
The False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to sue those who commit fraud against the government and to receive between 15 and 30 percent of the recovered funds. The law covers fraud involving any government-funded contract or program, including Medicare, Medicaid, military, transportation, housing, educational, agricultural, or other program. Separate IRS, SEC and CFTC whistleblower programs cover federal tax fraud, securities and commodities fraud. Since 1986, whistleblowers have helped the government to recover more than $40 billion by bringing lawsuits under the federal and state False Claims Acts.