Your Federal Law Resource
The Oberheiden Law Group, PLLC is a boutique law firm with headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Our Firm represents clients in federal administrative, civil, and criminal matters.
Routinely, we assist clients in proceedings involving the federal government and argue before federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the FBI, and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
- Healthcare Law
Our Healthcare Defense Team represents pharmacies, national hospital chains, national toxicology groups, spinal hardware and implant companies, individual medical providers as well as talented healthcare entrepreneurs.
Routinely, we advise on physician self-referral laws, safe harbor laws, SEC-compliance with private placement memoranda, and conduct legal analysis for business’ anti-kickback and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance. Our Firm consists of former FBI special health care fraud agents, accountants, and highly experienced lawyers. Together we combine expert consulting with expert lawyering.
Targets charged with health care violations are typically accused of violating one of the following prominent statutes:
- Anti-Kickback Statute (42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b)
- False Claim Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733)
- False, fictitious or fraudulent claims (18 U.S.C. § 287)
- Physician Self-Referral Laws (§ 1877 Social Security Act)
- Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
- Health Care Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1347)
- Social Security Act (§ 1128B, Medicare and Medicaid laws)
- Government Investigations
Most individuals never contemplate being investigated until government agents from the OIG, FBI, the Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Service, ATF, or DEA appear at their doorsteps, or, in case of an administrative subpoena, serve notice of a federal investigation.
Governmental investigations can be administrative, civil, and criminal in nature. The two clearest indications that the investigation is criminal in nature are search warrant and grand jury subpoena. A search warrant must be issued by a judge based on probable cause, a very high standard. Subpoenas, on the other hand, do not require a judge’s approval and are used to obtain evidence primarily from those that are believed to have pertinent information about the crimes of others.
Our strategic advantage is twofold. First, we have the experience and reputation because we have appeared before governmental agencies and established a trustworthy climate. Second, we closely work with former agents, FBI supervisory special agents, certified fraud examiners, former government lawyers, and reputable compliance officers who all have been on both sides of the table.
We have substantial experience in representing clients charged with or accused of civil and criminal fraud charges. Particularly, we represent individuals in cases of Bank Fraud, Mail & Wire Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, Medicare Fraud, and Securities Fraud.
- Civil Litigation
Our Data Privacy Group is well familiar with the intricacies of privacy and data security litigation. We regularly represent companies facing government investigations or legal challenges from competitors dealing with the unauthorized access of personal or confidential information, data breaches, online infringements, tracking software, abuse of personal information, identity theft, decryption, and unlawful data retention practices. Among the federal statutes that we routinely represent clients are:
- Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030
- Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2510Children Online Privacy Protection Act, 15 U.S.. § 6501
- Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2701
- Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
We have significant experience in quashing and defending federal subpoenas. For example, recently, we fully quashed seven federal subpoenas on behalf of various clients. The subpoenas were forced upon our clients by direct competitors, whose sole motive it was to inspect of our clients’ business model and business contacts. In this case, the federal judge granted our defense and prohibited all deposition requests and did not allow a single document to be produced.
- Federal Criminal Law
A federal crime or federal offense is an act that is made illegal by U.S. federal legislation. In the United States, criminal law and prosecution happen at both the federal and the state levels, accordingly, a federal crime is one that is prosecuted under federal criminal law, and not under a state’s criminal law. These parameters include many acts that would otherwise not be crimes or fall under state or local law. Some crimes are listed in Title 18 of the United States Code, but others fall under other titles; for example, tax evasion and possession of weapons banned by the National Firearms Act are criminalized in Title 26 of the United States Code. Moreover, numerous federal agencies have been granted powers to investigate federal offenses to include, but not limited to, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service, and the Secret Service. In addition, mail fraud that crosses state lines or involves the (national) United States Postal Service is a federal offense. Other federal crimes include kidnapping, bank robbery, tax evasion, counterfeiting, art theft from a museum, damaging or destroying public mailboxes, and immigration offenses. In drug-related federal offenses mandatory minimum sentences can be enforced. A mandatory minimum is a federally regulated minimum sentence for offenses of certain drugs offenses. Prosecution guidelines are established by the United States Attorney in each federal judicial district and by laws that Congress has already established.
There is no statute of limitations for federal crimes punishable by death, nor for certain federal crimes of terrorism, nor, for certain federal sex offenses. Prosecution for most other federal crimes must begin within five years of the commitment of the offense. There are exceptions. Some types of crimes are subject to a longer period of limitation; some circumstances suspend or extend the otherwise applicable period of limitation. Arson, art theft, certain crimes against financial institutions and various immigration offenses all carry statutes of limitation longer than the five year standard. Regardless of the applicable statute of limitations, the period may be extended or the running of the period suspended or tolled under a number of circumstances such as when the accused is a fugitive or when the case involves charges of child abuse, bankruptcy, wartime fraud against the government, or DNA evidence. Ordinarily, the statute of limitations begins to run as soon as the crime has been completed. Although the federal crime of conspiracy is complete when one of the plotters commits an affirmative act in its name, the period for conspiracies begins with the last affirmative act committed in furtherance of the scheme. Other so-called continuing offenses include various possession crimes and some that impose continuing obligations to register or report.
Statute of limitations related constitutional challenges arise most often under the Constitution’s ex post facto and due process clauses. The federal courts have long held that a statute of limitations may be enlarged retroactively as long as the previously applicable period of limitation has not expired. The Supreme Court recently confirmed that view; the ex post facto proscription precludes legislative revival of an expired period of limitation. Due process condemns pre-indictment delays even when permitted by the statute of limitations if the prosecution wrongfully caused the delay and the defendant’s defense suffered actual, substantial harm as a consequence.
If contacted by federal authorities regarding a criminal investigation, one should determine is if the contact is related to being a potential witness or as a suspect. Next, one must determine what statements may be safely made so such authorities without falling into a trap; for example, being charged with lying to federal agents. A federal criminal defense attorney may serve to assess the nature and purpose of such an investigation. Moreover, a federal criminal defense attorney can be present during questioning, act as an intermediary and advise clients regarding the exercise of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. If appropriate, a federal criminal defense attorney may negotiate with the authorities for more favorable treatment. In some cases an attorney may also be able to secure a letter of declination, in which the U.S. attorney formally declines to prosecute a client in relation to a particular offense or investigation.
When a person receives a subpoena to testify before a grand jury, as with an investigation, it is not always apparent whether the person is being subpoenaed as a witness or as a potential target for indictment. As with an investigation, a federal criminal defense attorney can determine the likely purpose of the subpoena, advise on how to avoid potential traps when providing testimony, or when to invoke the Fifth Amendment. The attorney may be able to work out a deal for immunity, or for use immunity (meaning that the testimony provided before the grand jury may not be used to advance a criminal prosecution against the witness), and in relation to the testimony. Nonetheless, it is helpful during federal criminal proceedings to be represented by an attorney who is familiar with the federal rules of evidence, federal rules of criminal procedure, trial procedure, and the federal court system. The attorney should also be familiar with federal sentencing procedures, and with the recent Supreme Court rulings which affect sentencing.