By David Pope and Pilar Mata
The New York Attorney General’s office posted a press release on March 14, 2014 announcing that Lantheus Medical Imaging (Lantheus) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), Lantheus’s former parent, agreed to a $6.2 million settlement for a claim filed pursuant to New York’s False Claims Act (FCA). Under New York’s FCA, a person that knowingly files, or conspires to knowingly file, a “false claim” is subject to civil penalties, including treble damages. The FCA defines “false claim” as any request or demand for money or property that is fraudulent and presented to a state or local government, including claims made under the tax law, with certain limitations. The FCA provides incentives for whistleblowers to bring action, including awards up to 30% of the recovered proceeds. Here, the New York Attorney General alleged that Lantheus and BMS failed to pay $2.2 million of New York State franchise taxes, New York City corporation taxes and Metropolitan Transit Authority surcharges from 2002 to 2006. A whistleblower initiated the case in May 2012 via a “qui tam” action. This case is particularly interesting, and concerning, because the whistleblower who initiated the case was a tax services provider and received approximately $1.1 million for initiating the claim. Additional details surrounding the case are limited because the case is sealed. Anonymous v. Anonymous, Case No. 102892/2012, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.