Several whistleblowers have brought to light allegations of widespread fraud by Complementary Support Services (CSS). According to allegations from federal and state prosecutors, the mental healthcare provider defrauded Minnesota’s Medicaid program for millions of dollars and provided inadequate supervision of unlicensed practitioners. The state and federal prosecutors filed suit against CSS in November of 2015.
Several employees have come forward to blow the whistle and publicly report the fraud as well as retaliation and alleged blackmail of CSS employees. According to Naomi Davis, CSS threatened to withhold her paycheck if she did not agree to file false reports. Such claims could give rise to employment retaliation and whistleblower claims.
In addition, a qui tam, or False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit was filed in 2013 against CSS, and both the United States and Minnesota governments have joined the suit. The lawsuit was initially filed under seal, as required by state and federal law, and was recently made public by the Court. The whistleblower lawsuit was filed by William Schwandt as a relator on behalf of both the United States and Minnesota.
These whistleblowers highlight the need for individuals to report government fraud, waste and abuse, and the important role that whistleblower reward laws–or qui tam laws, as they are sometimes called–play in stopping and correcting fraud in our community. There are robust laws that reward individuals who report fraud and even allow such individuals to file lawsuits on behalf of the government in order to recover the improperly-obtained money. In addition, there are many laws that protect employees who act as whistleblowers, preventing them from being retaliated against or fired for reporting or refusing to engage in fraud or other illegal conduct. In addition, some laws allow individuals to file confidential complaints in order to protect them from their employer or others of learning their identity.