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The federal False Claims Act FCA is one of the government’s most powerful enforcement tools for addressing fraud. In recent years, more of these actions have been brought against telcos for possible fraud relating to the Universal Service Fund. As more and more whistleblowers step forward, FCA recoveries are on the rise. In 2014, the United States collected almost $6 billion in False Claims Act cases, and for the first time, collected more than half of the total from industries outside of health care and defense contractors. The heavy penalties and minimal evidentiary thresholds related to FCA litigation have practitioners wondering how government agencies conduct these investigations, and consequently, how practitioners can help their clients defend themselves, or better yet, avoid the entire process. In addition, recent cases raise the question of whether the FCA should even apply to USF fraud claims. Experts from DOJ, FCC, and industry explore those issues and more.
6:00 – 6:05 p.m. Welcome and Introductions
Steve Augustino, Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
6:05 – 6:15 p.m. Tutorial – The False Claims Act
The session will begin with a brief overview of the False Claims Act—its key requirements and its primary processes.
Dawn Damschen, Associate, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
6:15 – 7:10 p.m. Processes for Review of False Claims Act Proceedings
A panel of experts will discuss agency-specific processes for review of False Claims Act proceedings, explaining intake, review, and referral procedures. Speakers will explain how False Claims Act cases differ from typical FCC enforcement actions. Speakers will also discuss how telecommunications companies can avoid FCA investigations, and general advice about how companies should respond to FCA-related agency inquiries. This hour-long session will highlight perspectives from the Department of Justice, Federal Communications Commission, and the bar.
Mark B. Sweet, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP
Loyaan Egal, Director, USF Strikeforce
Marcus Christian, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP (former executive assistant United States Attorney, S.D. Fla.)
Ted L. Radway, Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia
7:10 – 7:20 p.m. Break
7:20 – 8:15 p.m. Applicability of the FCA to Universal Service Beneficiary Payments
A panel of industry experts will take opposite positions in a debate that addresses whether USF filings should or should not be subject to the False Claims Act and discuss the issues faced by companies when responding to whistleblower complaints and government investigations and the best practices for handling these matters.
Koyulyn K. Miller, Associate, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP
Chris Miller, VP & Associate General Counsel, Regulatory Affairs, Verizon
Jeremy Marwell, Partner, Vinson & Elkins LLP
Travis Headley, Partner, Watts Guerra LLP
John T. Boese, Of Counsel, Fried Frank