September 30, 2022
Joel Androphy Receives Department of Defense Inspector General Certificate of Appreciation for Support of the Common Interests of the Department of Defense and the Nation
Significant Androphy Cases
On September 22, 2022, Joel Androphy was recognized for his over twenty years of support to the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and its mission to fight fraud, waste and abuse in the Defense Contracting arena. The following cases highlight the significant contributions made by Joel and his team which led to this recognition.
In 2002, Joel partnered with HHS and DCIS via Common Interest to recover monies that Pfizer subsidiaries had defrauded from the Medicare and TriCare Programs. Almost 20 years ago, on October 28, 2002, Pfizer paid the USG 49 million dollars to settle this whistleblower FCA case. At the time, this was the largest FCA recovery in the history of the Houston Resident Agency. Joel directly supported the efforts of AUSA Mike Lockhart of the Eastern District of Texas and agents, SA Hal Francis of DCIS and SA Jeanene Morgan of HHS leading to this significant recovery of Taxpayer dollars.
From the DoJ Press Release:
“Pfizer Corporation and its subsidiaries, Warner-Lambert and Parke-Davis, have agreed to pay $49 million to settle allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act, the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas announced today. The government alleged that the defendants fraudulently avoided paying fully the rebates owed to the state and federal governments under the national drug Medicaid Rebate program for the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor.”
Common Interest brought Joel and DCIS together again in the later part of the decade to stop Houston based, American Grocer’s, from defrauding the DoD and potentially harming the American War Fighter. Of special note, Joel convinced his Whistleblower to directly assist DCIS Agents in the development of a search warrant that caught American Grocer employee’s in the actual act of the adulteration of food packaging via the changing of expiration dates.
So significant were Joel’s contributions to the success of this case, when it came time to determine Relator’s share, DCIS Agent’s testified in Federal District Court that Joel’s contributions were significant enough to warrant the award of an increased Relator’s share over what DoJ had proposed.
From NBC News:
“HOUSTON, Nov. 19, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — American Grocers, Inc. and its owner Samir Itani have agreed to pay $13.2 million to settle civil charges that they engaged in false or fraudulent conduct by shipping food products past or near their expiration dates to United States troops stationed in the Middle East.”
Note: Itani pled guilty to fraud charges in 2009 and was sentenced to 2 years for his conduct.
Most recently Joel and his team worked alongside the DoD over an 8 year period to hold two large defense contractors responsible for a multi-million dollar fraud perpetrated against the American Warfighter. This FCA case resulted in a 25.4 million dollar recovery which was considered a model of cooperation between a law firm (Berg and Androphy) and the United States Government. As follows:
HOUSTON, June 15, 2022 (PRNewswire) — DynCorp International, LLC and Damco U.S.A., Inc. have agreed to pay $25.4 million to resolve a False Claims Act suit alleging that the companies submitted false claims for payment to the Department of Defense related to freight forwarding services provided in Afghanistan as part of the LOGCAP IV program. The settlement resolves a lawsuit against the companies filed in 2014 by two former employees of DynCorp on behalf of the federal government.
The lawsuit claimed that from October 2011 through December 2014, DynCorp, LOGCAP IV prime contractor, and its subcontractor, Damco, submitted claims for payment to the United States under LOGCAP IV related to the provision of goods to United States military bases in Afghanistan. The lawsuit alleged that the claims for payment contained unallowable accessorial charges related to freight forwarding services, as well as indirect costs and fees applicable to oversize charges and air fuel surcharges.
The settlement is neither an admission of liability by DynCorp or Damco nor a concession by the relators that their claims were not well founded.
The relators were represented by Joel Androphy and Janis Gorton of Berg & Androphy, Greg Dykeman and Michael Hendryx of Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard, and Sarah Frazier of the Law Office of Sarah Frazier. Berg & Androphy’s Director of Investigations, James “Hal” Francis, also assisted by providing freight forwarding expertise. Although the United States declined to intervene in the matter, it remained a valuable asset for the duration of the case. The United States was represented by Brit Featherston, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, and Michael Lockhart, Assistant United States Attorney, Eastern District of Texas. Greg Shilling, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Southwestern Region, Tom King, Resident Agent in Charge (Retired), Moline Resident Agency, Army Criminal Investigative Command and Joan Marshall, Fraud Counsel, Defense Contract Management Agency all with the Department of Defense provided extensive assistance during the case’s investigative stage and throughout the litigation.