On July 29, Law360, a prominent legal newsletter with over 400,000 daily recipients, reported on an interview with the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, A. Lee Bentley, III. Bentley highlighted the Middle District’s aggressive pursuit of potential False Claims Act violations and the possibility of hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements.
In the interview, Bentley stated that the Middle District of Florida leads the nation in qui tam, or whistleblower, lawsuits with 51 being filed just last year. Bentley predicted that recoveries in his district could total as much as $600 million for fiscal years 2015 and 2016 based on “some really big things in the works.” Bentley stated that the office’s strategy has focused on hospitals: “Going against the hospitals we think is very effective because they have the deep pockets.”
Bentley also highlighted the overlap between civil and criminal enforcement, stating that “A lot of these [investigations] start on the civil side, and they come over to the criminal side.” In response to the volume of cases in the District and enforcement priorities, the U.S. Attorney stated that he intended to fill as many as nine open positions with attorneys capable of pursuing white collar cases.