The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld the convictions of two former hospital executives finding that there was more than enough evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that certain contracts arranged by the two with physicians and physician assistants were intended to induce illegal referrals to the hospital.

One of the defendants had argued that the conspiracy conviction was based on conduct that occurred after he left his employment at the hospital. The court said that simply leaving employment of the hospital where the referral fraud conspiracy was operating was not by itself enough and that the conspirator was required to make an affirmative declaration that he was exiting the conspiracy to his co-conspirators.

The take away from this appeal is that individuals involved in questionable kickback or other false claims conduct cannot just walk away. They should consult legal counsel for exit strategy advice.