Eight years after a whistleblower unveiled information about Stericycle’s ongoing strategy of “systematically overcharging” the government for waste management services, the company settled the case. Stericycle agreed to pay $26,750,000 to the federal government and states involved in the claim action.
A former Stericycle employee brought a qui tam claim against the company alleging that it had programmed its systems to increase rates charged to government entities every nine months. The former employee offered evidence showing Stericycle’s top management knew of the fraud and may have been complicit by not putting a stop to it. Fourteen states, including New York and the District of Columbia, joined the action. Stericycle refused to settle.
However, in 2013, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman went public with the fact that his Stericycle agreed to a $2.4 million settlement with New York. New York is still doing business with Stericycle but put in place guidelines regarding all future rate increases.
However, the New York case highlighted the ongoing 2008 qui tam claim. It was uncovered and outlined in the lawsuit that the waste management company increased rates 18 percent every nine months, without justification and only to government entities. Further, according to the whistleblower lawsuit, Stericycle actually put a process into place to “evade detection” while increasing the company’s bottom line.
Stericycle refused to admit wrongdoing but says it agreed to settle with all parties in an effort to avoid the cost of litigation.
The decision to file a whistleblower lawsuit isn’t easy and shouldn’t be done without careful consideration and review by a qualified qui tam lawyer. If you believe you have information that reveals fraudulent activity against the government, contact Begelman & Orlow a today for a free consultation.