Amy Easton, a partner at Phillips & Cohen, is a former federal prosecutor who brings exceptional skills and extensive investigation and litigation experience to her cases, which benefits our whistleblower clients.
While a former Senior Trial Counsel at the US Department of Justice, Ms. Easton investigated and prosecuted many significant healthcare fraud cases, including those based on whistleblower qui tam lawsuits. She has prosecuted hospitals, health systems and physicians for charges involving unnecessary medical care, quality of care issues, Stark Act violations, kickbacks and upcoding.
In recognition of her work, she was awarded the Department of Justice Special Commendation Award in 2015.
A 'true example of the best and the brightest attracted to public service.'
Ms. 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. Medicare regulations require a waiting period to give the heart time to heal.
- 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 Act alleging prohibited financial relationships between hospitals and doctors.
- A Medicaid fraud case against a major retail pharmacy chain involving overcharging for prescription drugs.
- A False Claims Act whistleblower case against a nationwide skilled nursing facility alleging that services that were not medically necessary were billed to Medicare.
A nonprofit whistleblowers organization, Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, recognized the exemplary work by Ms. Easton in the 500 hospitals’ case and awarded her its 2016 “Public-Private Partnership Award” for the highly successful collaboration between the Department of Justice and the whistleblower team.
While at the Justice Department, Ms. Easton also investigated and resolved whistleblower cases involving other types of fraud against the government, such as one alleging fraudulent claims for payment submitted to Amtrak and the US Department of Transportation by a contractor and a separate case against a bank involving alleged fraud in mortgage loans submitted to US Housing and Urban Development.
Prior to joining the Justice Department, Ms. 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.
Ms. Easton earned her law degree from The Ohio State University College of Law. Following graduation, she was a judicial law clerk for US Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. She is admitted to the bar in Washington, DC.
- “Federal government intervenes in hospital whistleblower suit” – AP News – December 22, 2018
“How DOJ got 500-plus hospitals to settle over cardiac implants” – Modern Healthcare – May 28, 2016
“Former Federal Prosecutor Amy Easton Joins Phillips & Cohen in Washington” – Corporate Crime Reporter – February 24, 2016
- “Developments in Healthcare Fraud” – ABA’s 12th National Institute on the Civil False Claims Act and Qui Tam Enforcement – June 2018
- “Introduction to Fraud and Compliance for Industry Groups (Providers [Hospitals and Physicians])” – ABA’s 28th Annual National Institute on Health Care Fraud – May 2018
- Workshop for Qui Tam/Relators and Other Plaintiffs Counsel – ABA’s 28th Annual National Institute on Health Care Fraud – May 2018
- Anatomy of a False Claims Act Case: Investigation, Litigation, Negotiation, Resolution – HCCA’s 22nd Annual Compliance Institute – April 2018
- Whistleblower Case Study – HCCA Board Audit Committee Compliance Conference – February 2018
- Qui Tam Roundtable – 18th Annual Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Compliance Congress – November 2017
- Anatomy of False Claims Act Case – HCCA Healthcare Enforcement Compliance Institute – October 2017
- New Enforcement Priorities: Fraud and Abuse Panel – 2017 Advanced Health Care Law Seminar, State Bar of Georgia Health Law Section – October 2017
- Whistleblowers: Who, What and Why – Florida Hospital Association Annual Corporate Compliance Education Retreat – June 2017
- Hot Topics in Healthcare Fraud – AAPC HealthCon 2017 – May 2017
- Anatomy of a False Claims Act Case: Investigation, Litigation, Negotiation, and Resolution – HCCA Compliance Institute – March 2017
- If You Could See What We Saw: Observations of Former DOJ Health Care Fraud Prosecutors – National Alliance of Medical Auditing Specialists Auditing & Compliance Conference – December 2016
- Fraud and Abuse in Long Term Care (Nursing Homes) – National Institute on Health Care Fraud – May 2016
- Specialty Workshop for Qui Tam/Relators and other Plaintiffs Counsel – National Institute on Health Care Fraud – May 2016
- Value Based Payments and Compliance: Responding to the Government’s Focus on Quality of Care and Medical Necessity – HCCA Compliance Institute – April 2016
- Anatomy of a False Claims Act Case – AAPC Annual Conference – April 2016