Thursday, August 26, 2010

Judge dismisses Huron Consulting whistleblower case

Something is terribly wrong in New York. This is the third fraud case today that has been dismissed.

Judge dismisses Huron Consulting whistleblower case

Aug 26 (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a whistleblower lawsuit filed against Huron Consulting Group Inc (HURN.O) by a former accountant, who accused the management consultancy firm of involvement in false medical claims and reimbursements.
The plaintiff, Associates Against Outlier Fraud, an entity solely owned by Steven Landgraber, brought in a number of fraud claims under federal and state laws against Empire Heathchoice Assurance, a unit of Huron Consulting.
Empire is an intermediary under contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that manages Medicare and Medicaid, to administer the Medicare program, including auditing of annual reports.
Defendant Huron was hired to provide consulting services to St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center, a network of five hospitals, prior to and during the bankruptcy restructuring of the hospital network.
Landgraber worked as an accountant consultant for St. Vincent in 2005 and 2006.
In his complaint, Landgraber said Huron, together with the consulting firm Speltz and Weis, "ran -- really controlled the (St. Vincent) Hospitals, including the hospital's reimbursement submissions and activities."
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed the lawsuit and said in his ruling that neither the fraud claims nor the conspiracy charge against Huron could be sufficiently proved by the plaintiff Landgraber.
"The amended complaint does not sufficiently plead the false claims that were allegedly presented for payment, nor that defendants caused them to be presented," Rakoff said in a ruling.
Whistleblower cases, sometimes known as qui tam cases, are a means for people who believe companies have defrauded the government to file suit. These people can share in settlement or other payments that companies may make.
Judge Rakoff said the parties would have to set a schedule for the filing of a second amended complaint before Aug 31.
The case is IN re: Associates Against Outlier Fraud vs Huron Consulting Group Inc et al, Case No. 1:09-cv-01800, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. (Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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