Sam Sheldon, the deputy chief in the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section who oversaw health care fraud prosecutions, is leaving the Justice Department to join Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.
He will head the law firm’s new health care fraud group, the firm announced.
Since December 2011, Sheldon has overseen the Justice Department unit responsible for some of the most spectacular health care fraud take-downs in recent years. Working with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Justice Department last year announced the indictment of a Dallas physician, Dr. Jacques Roy, and others accused of bilking Medicare and Medicaid of $375 million through false billings involving some 11,000 patients. Officials said it was the largest health care fraud operation ever prosecuted.
Also last year, the joint DOJ-HHS Medicare Fraud Strike Force charged 107 people in a single day day for schemes involving $452 million in false billings.
In all, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force charged some $1.5 billion in fraud in 2012.
At Quinn Emanuel, Sheldon will open a False Claims Act practice with a focus on health care industry whistleblowers. The firm has previously had an active qui tam practice in the defense industry area, but not in health care.
“We see the health care fraud practice growing exponentially over the next decade,” managing partner John Quinn said in a statement announcing Sheldon was joining the firm. “We believe Sam has the combination of subject matter expertise, credibility within the DoJ, and charisma to lead our efforts in this area.”
Sheldon joined the Fraud Section in 2010 as a trial attorney, after spending three years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Texas. He was promoted to head the health care fraud unit in 2011 following the departure of then-Deputy Chief Hank Walther for private practice.
Before joining the Justice Department, he spent 10 years in private practice in San Diego.
Sheldon received the 2011 Exceptional Service Award for his role in leading investigations and prosecutions of Medicare fraud. He was also the 2010 recipient of a Special Achievement Award, presented by the Attorney General for Sustained Superior Performance of Duty.
Sheldon’s successor as head of the health care fraud unit is Benjamin Singer, a Fraud Section lawyer since 2005 who has been serving as a co-deputy chief for several months.