In simple terms, kickbacks are a way of undermining natural competition between companies. It’s a type of bribe that will be given to someone, after they perform a service for the one giving the kickback, typically awarding them a lucrative contract. In criminal law, kickback schemes usually occur in the healthcare industry and in government contacts cases.
There are a variety of ways that the federal law will prohibit kickbacks. This will involve shutting down cases that deal with contracts with the federal government, but also situations where healthcare services result in kickbacks being given to others. The anti-kickback laws can be fairly complicated at first glance, but hiring the right criminal defense lawyer for your case will help tremendously in figuring out just how these laws work and how you can use them to your advantage in mounting a successful legal defense.
What’s the federal anti-kickback law?
When it all comes down to it, the anti-kickback law states that no type of money can be intentionally given to some person or some organization in order to get some sort of business benefit as a result. Now when it comes to kickbacks involving either Medicare or Medicaid, the prosecutor will in fact have to prove every single element of the law in order to show that the defendant did in fact violate the anti-kickback law. There are some legal exceptions to this, of course, such as when there are legitimate payments made to W-2 workers, or discounts that apply to prescription drugs, or a number of other similar situations where the anti-kickback law would not apply.
Generally, though, the law does establish that it’s illegal to either pay someone money or provide some other kind of benefit so that some kind of service can be gained from a health insurer at the federal level.
Penalties for violating this law are serious. Defendants found guilty of federal criminal kickback violations face heavy fines, up to $25,000 for each violation; they also face significant prison sentences. If you face federal criminal charges, you should consult an experienced attorney such as those you will find at Joseph Potashnik and Associates PC.
While these penalties can be very substantial and potentially even ruin your life, there are definitely ways to ensure that your charges are reduced, or even dropped altogether. There are things like plea deals, deals made for immunity, and also just defending yourself from these accusations. Of course, the best way to face these charges head on is to find a lawyer who has extensive experience in anti-kickback cases.
What other kinds of anti-kickback regulations are there?
There are quite a few federal regulations put into place specifically to curb the practice of kickbacks. There’s even one known as The Stark Law that applies to referrals of physicians.
The Stark Act works by basically prohibiting physicians from going ahead and referring Medicare patients to someone that a third party has a financial stake in. In this situation, prosecutors don’t actually have to prove that there was some intention of breaking the law in order for penalties to apply.
There are plenty of kickbacks that occur outside of the healthcare system entirely. There are also plenty of laws, as we’ve seen earlier, that deal specifically with cases where contracts were given from a government entity to a private company so that a bribe would be paid. Basically when it all comes down to it, these anti-kickback laws were specifically designed to crack down on a widespread issue that seriously undermines the legitimacy of the federal government. As a result, anyone who violates these laws can definitely expect to face some pretty serious penalties should they be convicted.
Along with potentially facing jail time for violating one of these anti-kickback laws, they could also face lawsuits made by whistleblowers who intend to recover improperly spent tax dollars and then release these funds to the people for the benefit of their community. It goes without saying that violating any of these laws has far-reaching consequences, consequences that will stick with a defendant for a very long time indeed.
If you’re facing federal kickback charges, you should not even consider hiring just any criminal lawyer. Most criminal lawyers are familiar with state law procedures but rarely if ever handle federal criminal cases, which is a completely different undertaking. You should reach out to the law firm of Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC. Our New York City based criminal defense attorneys represented numerous clients facing kickback violations in federal courts. Call us today to set up your confidential consultation.