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False Claims

May 5, 2012
Re "Outside groups lead the charge," May 3 Wouldn't democracy be better served if there was a nonpartisan filter through which both sides would be threaded? All the "outside groups" should have the information in their ads would be fact-checked before release. The system followed now permits false claims, downright lies or, at best, shades of the truth with important omissions. This is no way to run an honorable political campaign. Anita C. Singer Laguna Woods ALSO: Letters: Ban the boarders Letters: Funding L.A.'s parks Letters: Adult education is worth saving
May 2, 2012 | By Richard A. Serrano
This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details . WASHINGTON - Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers from around the nation - 107 in all - were  charged Wednesday in what federal officials in Washington called a “nationwide takedown” against medical professionals they said fraudulently billed Medicare out of nearly half a billion dollars in bogus claims. The sweep of arrests in seven major cities, where some $455 million was allegedly fraudulently billed, marked the highest amount of false claims in a single raid in the history of the federal strike force.
March 12, 2012 | By David Meeks
After years of battling false claims and viral e-mails alleging that he is a Muslim, President Obama hasn't gotten far among Republican voters in Alabama and Mississippi - about half still believe he is Muslim and about one in four believe his parents' interracial marriage should have been illegal, a new poll shows. The automated survey by Public Policy Polling, conducted over the weekend in advance of Tuesday's GOP primaries in both states, showed Republicans Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich locked in a fierce, three-way battle for votes.
October 20, 2011 | By Jonathan Turley
Soon after he was elected to the board of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Claremont, Xavier Alvarez introduced himself at a public meeting with a lie. "I'm a retired Marine of 25 years," he said. "Back in 1987, I was awarded the congressional Medal of Honor. " That was not Alvarez's first falsehood about himself. He'd also claimed to have played professional hockey and to have played a key role in the Iranian hostage crisis. But it was the Medal of Honor lie that put Alvarez in violation of the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, a law passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush that prohibits anyone from falsely claiming "to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States.
October 17, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether freedom of speech included a right to lie about military honors. In an important 1st Amendment case from Southern California, the justices voted to hear the government's defense of the Stolen Valor Act, a 5-year-old law that makes it a crime to falsely claim to have earned medals for service in the armed forces. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year struck down the law, saying the government cannot act as the "truth police" to punish lies that cause no direct harm.
September 29, 2011 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
Reebok International Ltd. has agreed to pay $25 million in refunds to consumers to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission that the company falsely claimed that its toning shoes and other products strengthened muscles. "Consumers expected to get a workout, not to get worked over," David Vladeck, director of the agency's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in announcing the settlement Wednesday. Reebok is one of several companies that have marketed special fitness shoes designed to tone muscles.
May 20, 2011 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
Quest Diagnostics Inc., the biggest provider of medical lab services in California, has agreed to pay $241 million to settle a whistle-blower's lawsuit that accused it of overcharging the state Medi-Cal program. The lawsuit also alleged that the Madison, N.J., company paid illegal kickbacks to doctors, hospitals and clinics that sent patients their way. The settlement was the largest in the history of California's False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to sue on behalf of the state if they have evidence that a government contractor has defrauded a state agency.
March 22, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
"Saints may always tell the truth, but for mortals living means lying. " Those were the words of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski in Monday's decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the Stolen Valor Act is an unconstitutional restraint on free speech and a threat to every citizen who fibs to embellish his or her image, avoid embarrassment or perpetuate a child's belief in Santa Claus. The court struck down both the 2005 act of Congress and the fines and sentence meted out to a Pomona man convicted on criminal charges for falsely claiming to have been awarded the congressional Medal of Honor.
February 6, 2011 | By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
The federal investigator took the witness stand and described the crime scene: a sprawling field clogged with boulders, native grasses and knee-high sagebrush. The defendant, a California farmer, had said the site was a 200-acre wheat field. But the investigator found no tilled soil, no tractors, no plows. In fact, she testified, she found no wheat. The field was just a field ? and a prime example, federal prosecutors allege, of a wave of agricultural insurance scams sprouting across the nation.
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