A principal in the Civil Litigation department, Veronica Nannis is a seasoned litigator who fights fraud.
For more than 15 years, clients have turned to Veronica to protect them while exposing fraud. She represents employees who blow the whistle on employers. Veronica leads a team that files suit under the False Claims Act in federal courts all over the country, focusing on health care fraud and all sorts of illegal kickback schemes. She relentlessly pursues fraud cases and protects her clients above all else.
Unlike in other cases, False Claims Act cases (aka qui tams) can often be filed in a different state from where the defendant resides. Veronica has had qui tams in a dozen different states and works with a range of different U.S. Attorney’s offices and numerous states Attorneys General to prosecute fraud all over the country.
Her whistleblower clients are employees or former employees with knowledge of fraud. In healthcare cases, these may be sales representatives, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, home health aides, auditors, billing or coding specialists or compliance officers. Despite reporting fraud internally, most employees cannot stop fraud on their own.
Veronica’s clients are often put in compromising positions. Faced with the choice of knowingly participating in fraud (putting reputations and licenses at risk, or even facing criminal consequences) or refusing to participate and instead reporting the fraud, a brave few choose to report. That is when they need an experienced fraud attorney who will prosecute fraud while protecting the whistleblower from retaliation.
Fraud schemes run the gamut, but some of the typical Medicare or Medicaid tend to include:
- Paying kickbacks, referral fees or quid pro quo arrangements;
- Up-coding or wrongful coding to increase reimbursement;
- Falsifying records, symptoms, tests, services or diagnoses;
- Providing services to ineligible Medicare patients;
- Providing unnecessary and unreasonable medical services (medical necessity fraud)
- Upping RUG rates or HHRG scores to inflate Medicare payments;
- Billing for services that were not provided; or
- False and off-label marketing and promotion.
As an example, Veronica filed suit against NuVasive, Inc., a major medical device company, representing one of its sales representatives, an employee-turned-whistleblower. The complaint exposed an alleged nationwide illegal kickback scheme involving speaker fees and false, off-label promotion of spine devices. Working in close partnership with the government, a compromise was reached in 2015. The deal resulted in a $13.5 million payment back to the Federal and state governments and a relator’s share for the whistleblower.
The fight against fraud can also take the form of a class action. In 2015, Veronica and JGL’s team filed suit against major banks, alleging a fraudulent real estate settlement services (“RESPA”) kickback scheme. In November 2016, the Court approved a settlement with Wells Fargo to pay back over $16 million to class members. Courts in Maryland and Ohio then certified two classes before two more settlements – the Ohio case being the first class certification of a RESPA case in the Sixth Circuit. All in, the Court has approved final settlements in this case with six financial institutions and has preliminarily approved settlement with a seventh. All combined, these settlements have yielded almost $30 million for the class members.
If you have knowledge of fraud, consult with an experienced fraud attorney. Know your rights and your options. Read Veronica’s blog with key considerations for those thinking of blowing the whistle. Strict filing deadlines may apply. The False Claims Act has strict provisions including denying recovery for all but the first-to-file against a company for the same fraud scheme. If you are considering reporting fraud, act fast!
If you have knowledge of potential fraud and if you are considering blowing the whistle, click the above ‘contact me’ button to connect with Veronica Nannis for a free and confidential case consultation.
Direct Dial: 240-553-1209
The use of the Internet or this form of communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.
Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2002
Catholic University of America, M.A., summa cum laude, 2002
George Washington University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1997
District of Columbia, 2004
- American Bar Association, Health Section
- Maryland State Bar Association, Health Section
- Prince George's County Bar Association
- D.C. Lawyers Assistance Committee, chair of Outreach to Law Schools
- Taxpayers Against Fraud
- Ayuda Advisory Council
Speeches & Articles
- “Big Business and Hollywood rack up major win in unpaid intern case: The Second Circuit applies a “primary beneficiary test” for interns, reversing the lower court and rejecting the Department of Labor’s published guidance as outdated,” JGL Blog, August 2015
- "Employers May Pay Dearly for their Unpaid Internships,", Law 360, December 2014
- “What Effect Will United States v. Caronia Have On Civil Off-Label Cases?,” American Bar Association Health eSource, April 2013
- “The Fourth Circuit “Likes” Facebook – Rules That “Likes” Are Protected Speech,” JGL blog, September 2013
Awards & Honors
- Trial Lawyer of the Year, Maryland Association for Justice, 2011
- Maryland SuperLawyers Rising Star, 2012–2014