WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 24, 2016 - Former Department of Justice Senior Trial Attorney Amy Easton has joined whistleblower law firm Phillips & Cohen LLP, adding to the firm's strong roster of experienced healthcare fraud whistleblower lawyers.
During her 12 years with the Justice Department, Easton investigated and litigated False Claims Act cases, focusing primarily on health care fraud matters involving upcoding, Stark Act violations, kickbacks, medical devices, lack of medical necessity and failure to provide proper care.
"Amy's exceptional skills and extensive experience as a trial attorney for the Justice Department in Medicare fraud cases and other types of healthcare fraud matters will be a great asset for our whistleblower clients," said Erika Kelton, a partner at Phillips & Cohen LLP. "She is a top-notch litigator who understands the challenges our clients face and will work closely with them to stop healthcare fraud and return taxpayer money to the federal Treasury."
In recognition of her outstanding work, the Justice Department awarded Easton its Special Commendation Award in 2015. Easton was a lead prosecutor in many successful whistleblower cases that the government joined, including:
• A qui tam whistleblower lawsuit against more than 500 hospitals in 43 states, making it one of the largest qui tam cases ever. The hospitals paid a total of more than $280 million to settle allegations that they had implanted heart devices known as cardioverter defibrillators too soon after patients' heart attacks or heart surgery.
• One of the largest False Claims Act cases brought against an individual physician, who allegedly subjected patients to unnecessary CT scans and other imaging studies.
• Multiple cases involving violations of the Stark regulations and the Anti-Kickback Statute by hospitals and doctors arising from prohibited financial relationships.
Easton also investigated and resolved whistleblower cases involving other types of fraud against the government, such as one alleging fraudulent contractor claims for payment submitted to Amtrak and the Department of Transportation and separate case against a bank that alleged fraud in mortgage loans submitted to US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Before joining the Justice Department, Easton worked for a Washington, DC, law firm, where she focused on complex commercial litigation. Her responsibilities included leading an investigation of a financial institution tied to the Enron bankruptcy.
"I am very excited to be working with whistleblowers and Phillips & Cohen, whose reputation as the top whistleblower law firm is well deserved," said Easton. "It's great to have this opportunity to continue working for the public good while in private practice."
Phillips & Cohen's depth of experience with healthcare fraud cases is unmatched. Its clients brought whistleblower cases that were the major factors in the largest and second largest healthcare fraud settlements ever (GlaxoSmithKline for $3 billion and Pfizer for $2.3 billion). Dr. Peter P. Budetti, a former Deputy Administrator with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services who was known as the "anti-fraud czar," joined Phillips & Cohen last year. And former Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey W. Dickstein, a leading government prosecutor in Medicare fraud cases, joined Phillips & Cohen in January.
Phillips & Cohen is the most successful law firm representing US and international whistleblowers, with nearly $12 billion in recoveries resulting from its whistleblower cases. The firm focuses its practice exclusively on representing whistleblowers in False Claims Act (qui tam) cases as well as claims made under whistleblower reward programs at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Internal Revenue Service.
Easton will be based in Phillips & Cohen's Washington, DC, office. The firm also has offices in London, Miami and San Francisco.