Phillips & Cohen attorney Peter Chatfield is quoted in the Health Care Compliance Association’s Report on Medicare Compliance in an article about the Department of Justice’s move to dismiss 11 False Claims Act suits. The Department of Justice contends that the whistleblowers used “false pretenses” to gather information for the cases.
… whistleblower attorney Peter Chatfield says FCA lawsuits shouldn’t necessarily be dismissed based on how information was obtained and by whom. “The one thing the False Claims Act recognizes is sometimes you need the help of rogues to catch rogues,” says Chatfield, although he isn’t saying that’s the case here. “Whistleblowers need not always be insiders or transparent about their motives. Context matters.”
Chatfield understands DOJ’s misgivings about the whistleblower’s information-gathering methods, although “we don’t know all the facts.” But the FCA allows much worse, with DOJ sometimes working with whistleblowers who participated in the fraud, which isn’t alleged here. “The mere fact someone doesn’t have clean hands is not enough to automatically exclude them as long as they are bringing information of real value and don’t violate other laws or rules of ethics,” says Chatfield, with Phillips & Cohen in Washington, D.C.