Baltimore, Maryland – Maryland-based Capital Technology Information Services, Inc., (“CTIS”), a health care information technology company, has agreed to pay the United States $1,712,949.44 to resolve federal False Claims Act allegations that it billed the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) for costs that were unallowable for reimbursement.
The civil settlement was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge Maureen Dixon, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Federal contractors are required to bill only for costs that are properly reimbursable and not for purely personal expenses unrelated to the contract work,” said United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron. “This settlement represents our continuing commitment to holding companies accountable who do not follow the rules for federal contracting and grants and take advantage of taxpayer funded programs.”
“Federal grantees and contractors have a responsibility to ensure all charges they submit are for allowable expenses,” said Maureen Dixon, Special Agent in Charge at the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “HHS-OIG remains committed to protecting valuable taxpayer dollars, and the programs they fund, from fraud, waste, and abuse.”
The core business of CTIS involved health data analytics and the provision of related website infrastructure to its customers to capture, store and use health and biomedical data. CTIS received a five-year grant from NIH, through the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (“NIMHD”), to establish a consortium of educational and for-profit organizations to study the impact of health delivery systems in a selected minority community, to understand possible disparities, and find innovative ways to eliminate the identified disparities. CTIS was also awarded an NIH Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (“CTEP”) Task Order cost-reimbursable contract to provide information technology and telecom solutions in support of NIH for CTEP. Under the contract and the grant, NIH would reimburse CTIS only for allowable expenses incurred during the performance period of the contract or grant.
The settlement resolves allegations that between July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2018, CTIS knowingly billed the NIH for unallowable costs on both the NIH grant and the CTEP Task Order, including for such personal expenses as the costs of luxury vehicles, residential mortgage payments, housekeeping services, the cost of a wedding, and other unreasonable and/or non-contract-related work or for work not actually performed. The costs were falsely represented as incurred specifically in support of the work performed on the NIH grant and CTEP Task Order and as necessary to the overall operation of the business of CTIS.
The civil settlement also resolves lawsuits filed under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act in United States ex rel. Sherette Rhodes, et. al., v. Capital Technology Information Services, Inc., Civ. No. GJH-17-0609 and in United States ex rel. Connie Ezerski v. CTIS, Inc., et. al., Civ. No. GJH-18-0486 (D.Md). The False Claims Act permits private parties to file suit on behalf of the United States for false claims and obtain a portion of the United States’ recovery. As part of the civil resolution, two of the Relators will receive $171,294.94, collectively, and the other will receive $171,294.94.
The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations. The settlement is not an admission of liability by CTIS, nor a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded. CTIS cooperated throughout the ensuing federal investigation conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the DHHS-OIG for its work in this investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Tarra DeShields who handled this case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to report fraud, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/report-fraud.
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