Fraud & Abuse
Last week, the finance industry watched one of the biggest implosions of an investment firm since the 2008 financial crisis. Archegos Capital Management rocked the industry when it was forced to liquidate huge positions in blue-chip companies after some risky investment strategies went south. The financial instruments used in this risky investment strategy are called total return swaps. The Archegos meltdown has lead lawmakers and regulators to call for increased scrutiny of the swaps.
The False Claims Act (“FCA”) is one of the United States Government’s most powerful tools for fighting fraud. In fact, the Department of Justice recovered nearly $1.8 billion under the FCA for health care fraud and $1.6 billion in FCA qui tam relator cases in the 2020 fiscal year. Keeping the enforcement of fraud in mind, underlying all FCA qui tam suits is successfully pleading with particularity under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b). This requirement has led many U.S. District Courts to dismiss qui tam cases at the pleading stage and U.S. Courts of Appeals to affirm those decisions. The upshot is that amid changes to the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback law, the continuation of COVID-19 related fraud, and the continuing splits in the Federal Circuit regarding pleading standards, the ground may begin to shift for compliance officers, attorneys, and general counsels in health care organizations.
In February 2021, McKinsey and Company’s 650 global partners turned down Kevin Sneader’s bid for a second three-year term as the firm’s lead partner. The rejection marked the first time in 40 years the storied consulting firm has opted not to offer its leader a second term. The vote came as McKinsey struggles to reconcile its lucrative business model with a series of ethical lapses that have been widely reported in the press, litigated in the courts, and questioned by some of the firm’s next generation of leaders.
A full year of quarantine, and a whole lot of spam. You wouldn’t be alone in noticing that telemarketer and spam calls have proliferated in the past year of lockdown. The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has noticed, too: the tail end of 2020 saw the agency file its first ever complaint against a VoIP service provider for enabling scammers to make robocalls. Just weeks later, they filed their second. The agency is making clear that this new method of enforcement will help combat the issue—but is it?
For me, it started with a phone call. Normally I do not answer calls from unknown numbers. But that day I did. The woman on the other end of the line informed me that she was calling on behalf of a debt collection agency. Sensing my confusion, she explained, “We’ve been trying to reach you regarding your outstanding balance with Sprint.” That did not make sense, I insisted. I had never been a Sprint customer in my life. After a brief pause, she asked, “Have you ever been the victim of identity theft?”
On December 17, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) charged Robinhood Financial, LLC (“Robinhood”) with material misrepresentation and misleading its users about its revenue sources, specifically Robinhood’s receipt of payments from certain principal trading firms for routing its customer orders to them. The SEC charges against Robinhood also relate to certain statements about the execution quality Robinhood achieved for its customers’ orders and Robinhood’s failure to satisfy its duty of best execution. Robinhood agreed to pay $65 million to settle the charges.
The regulation of hedge funds has largely been unchecked allowing big Wall Street players to manipulate the market for the benefit and at the detriment of other investors. But forced by an unprecedented movement of retail investors, Wall Street is being forced to reckon with the hypocrisy of their practices.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), and the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) recently announced that hackers have been and will continue to target the United States hospitals and health-care providers. These attacks are cyber in nature and often lead to ransomware attacks, data left, and inevitable disruption of health care services when patient information is locked until the ransom can be paid.
Sports betting is now just as easy as opening up an app and playing a game on your phone. But should it?
Of course not. Sports gambling, with the potential to waste away thousands of dollars, should feel more like gambling at a casino than making a few clicks on a phone.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) effectively outlawed sports betting nationwide. However, in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Supreme Court struct down PASPA, launching the phrenzy towards nationwide legalization. Sports betting is fully legal and operational in 18 states in addition to Washington D.C. with the possibility of 13 more states joining the national trend by the end of 2021.
In June 2019, Governor Pritzker signed the Sports Wagering Act into law, ushering in legal sports gambling in Illinois. The law initially required users to submit applications for sports wagering services in person. However, due to the pandemic Governor Pritzker issued several Executive Orders suspending this requirement through at least November 14. With the pandemic still in full swing, there is little reason why this suspension will not be extended again.
Earlier this year, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (“ESRB”) assigned a new disclosure for their video game ratings system: “In-Game Purchases (includes Random Items).” The decision stems from public outcry and FTC concerns about gamers, mostly children, being able to easily spend real money for randomized in-game content. But is it enough?