Roby’s Country Gardens Settles Allegations of False Claims Act Violations for Failing to Report Rebates Received through Contracts with the United States Government
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Attorney Eric. L. Young announced today that Roby’s Country Garden (“Roby’s CG”) has agreed to settle violations of, inter alia, the federal False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733, based on a qui tam complaint filed by whistleblower, Brian Helms, who is represented by McEldrew Young Purtell, Attorneys-at-Law (“McEldrew Young”). McEldrew Young was assisted by Rick Morgan of Morgan Verkamp LLC, who served as local counsel.
Mr. Helms’ original whistleblower complaint was filed under seal on May 3, 2013, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The complaint alleged that Roby’s CG submitted false and fraudulent claims to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program from April 1, 2008, through November 16, 2015. Roby’s CG, a produce wholesaler in Bardstown, Kentucky, was in the business of selling commercial produce to government payors, including local public schools and United States military institutions throughout Indiana, Kentucky, and parts of Ohio.
According to the allegations in the complaint, Roby’s CG, and its owner, failed to disclose to the government that it had received rebates, credits, and other discounts that they received from manufacturers, growers, and other vendors in contravention of its agreements with government payors. United States ex rel. Brian Helms v. Roby’s Country Gardens, Inc., No. 1:13-cv-00296 (S.D. Ohio). Roby’s CG’s settlement with the federal government was the direct result of Mr. Helms’ qui tam whistleblower suit.
Attorney Eric Young noted that after learning of Roby’s CG’s alleged fraudulent practices Mr. Helms stepped up and put the government on notice. “Out of concern for U.S. taxpayers and consumers of produce procured through the Department of Agriculture’s DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Mr. Helms risked his professional reputation to ensure that Roby’s was held accountable for its alleged misconduct. The complaint allegations centered on illegal hidden financial inducements received by Roby’s CG. It was also alleged that those inducements not only violated the express terms of the government contracts, but also had real world consequences by artificially inflating the costs of fruit and vegetables purchased by the government under those contracts,” said Mr. Young.
As the managing partner of McEldrew Young’s whistleblower practice, Eric Young has established a distinguished record of success. Mr. Young has recovered more than $2 billion dollars for the government on behalf of his whistleblower clients. McEldrew Young represents whistleblowers from across the country and abroad. Many whistleblower cases are brought under the False Claims Act, which allows a private individual, known as a Relator, to file a lawsuit on behalf of the United States government against a company that has perpetrated a fraud against the government. If a relator successfully recovers funds on behalf of the government, he or she can receive a reward of 15 percent to 30 percent of the civil monetary recovery.
Case citation: United States ex rel. Brian Helms v. Roby’s Country Gardens, Inc., No. 1:13-cv-00296 (S.D. Ohio).
Eric L. Young, Esquire
McEldrew Young Purtell, Attorneys-at-Law
123 S. Broad St., Suite 2250
Philadelphia, PA 19109
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