Crowell & Moring has hired a pair of False Claims Act-focused partners in Washington, Michael Shaheen from the Department of Justice and Preston Pugh, a former federal prosecutor most recently practicing at Miller & Chevalier.
Shaheen will also join the firm’s health care and white collar practices, focusing his work on FCA enforcement actions in the healthcare industry, which he said are likely to grow amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Health care is where it is, particularly in this time with the money that has gone out into the healthcare space since Covid started,” Shaheen said. “I do believe that’s going to be a real hot spot going forward.”
The False Claims Act seeks to hold companies involved in government contracting accountable for fraudulent claims. The CARES Act, signed into law in March to provide funds to those in need of support during the pandemic, may also lead to a growth in FCA enforcement action.
Shaheen joins Crowell & Moring from the fraud section of the DOJ’s commercial litigation branch, where he led more than 60 high-stakes investigations involving allegations of the FCA, Anti-Kickback Statute, and other anti-fraud laws. His DOJ investigations often targeted healthcare entities like laboratories, telehealth providers, in-patient rehabilitation facilities,and skilled nursing facilities.
The Justice Department recovered over $3 billion in FCA cases in the 2019 fiscal year, with the vast majority of those recoveries, $2.6 billion, involving the healthcare industry.
Pugh, a former Assistant United States Attorney in Illinois and former in-house counsel for GE Healthcare, joins Crowell from Miller & Chevalier.
Pugh helps clients navigate alleged executive misconduct in the workplace, incidents involving workplace violence, insider threats, and workplace disputes. He was appointed to serve as a monitor by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and helped draft the American Bar Association’s first set of standards for corporate monitors.
He will serve on the steering committee of Crowell’s FCA practice, and will also work across the firm’s government contracts, white collar, healthcare, and labor and employment practices on complex fraud and misconduct matters.
“Preston’s government prosecutorial background and his deep knowledge and expertise in complex investigations and civil False Claims Act matters align perfectly with our platform,” Crowell & Moring chair Philip T. Inglima said in a statement. “His experience as a monitor and the reputation he has established as a trusted advisor to corporations and institutions navigating high-stakes, sensitive matters will be of great benefit to our clients.”