Raymond M. Sarola is Of Counsel at Cohen Milstein and a member of the firm’s Whistleblower/False Claims Act and the Ethics and Fiduciary Counseling practice groups.
Mr. Sarola represents whistleblowers in qui tam cases brought under the federal and state False Claims Act statutes in industries that conduct business with the government, including health care, defense, and financial services. As a member of the firm’s Ethics and Fiduciary Counseling practice, Mr. Sarola calls on his experience as a trustee on the New York City pension fund boards in counseling public pension funds fiduciary issues.
Prior to joining Cohen Milstein, Mr. Sarola served as Senior Policy Advisor & Counsel in the Mayor's Office of the City of New York, where he represented the Mayor and Commissioner of Finance on the boards of the City's pension systems and deferred compensation plan and advised on legal issues regarding pension investments, benefit payments, securities litigation and corporate governance initiatives. Previously, Mr. Sarola was a litigation associate at a noted defendants’ firm, where he focused on securities, antitrust, and other complex commercial litigation, and internal investigations.
Mr. Sarola’s government service and corporate defense litigation experience has been invaluable to his role in counseling clients in their claims against the government and corporate entities.
Mr. Sarola has been involved in high-profile whistleblower cases including:
- United States et al., ex rel. Lauren Kieff, v. Wyeth: Mr. Sarola assisted in this qui tam action against the pharmaceutical company Wyeth, resulting in a $784.6 million settlement, the seventh-largest False Claims Act recovery on record.
- United States ex rel. Davis, et al. v. Southern SNF Management, Inc. et al.: Mr. Sarola was actively involved in this qui tam case in which the whistleblowers alleged the skilled nursing facilities in which they worked were involved in a multi-year scheme to increase the facilities’ Medicare reimbursement by assigning Medicare patients to levels of therapy far greater than medically appropriate and billing Medicare at the higher amounts associated with this unnecessary therapy. The government recovered $10 million from the defendants.
Some of Mr. Sarola’s current representations include:
- A sealed qui tam action against a healthcare company alleging that it performed medically unnecessary procedures on patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
- A sealed qui tam action against healthcare companies alleging that they denied necessary treatment to patients in violation of Medicare regulations.
- Multiple qui tam actions alleging the unnecessary provision of skilled therapy in nursing homes.
- A sealed qui tam action alleging fraud in the bidding for a public contract.
- A sealed qui tam action against a provider of telehealth services alleging overbilling and underprovision of healthcare services.
- A sealed qui tam action against a healthcare company for allegedly defrauding the government’s Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs.
- Sealed qui tam actions against pharmaceutical companies alleging that they overcharged the government healthcare programs for brand-name drugs.
- Submissions under the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program and the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program alleging securities and tax fraud against major financial services companies and other entities.
- Submissions under the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Programs alleging violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Commodity Exchange Act.
Mr. Sarola has published articles on whistleblower issues, including the use of statistical sampling to prove large fraud cases. He has also published and spoken at conferences on pension fund fiduciary issues, in particular the SEC’s pay-to-play rule. He is a member of Taxpayers Against Fraud, a nonprofit, public interest organization dedicated to combating fraud against the Federal Government through the promotion and use of the False Claims Act.
In addition, Mr. Sarola was part of the Cohen Milstein team that successfully represented the estate of Kirsten Englund in a wrongful death case of first impression in Oregon state court and nationally, addressing the legal liability for federally licensed firearms dealers involved in online straw sales. The landmark settlement (October 2018) establishes important legal precedent at the state and federal levels regarding gun dealer responsibility for online sales of firearms. Given the precedential significance of this lawsuit, Cohen Milstein was named to The National Law Journal’s “2019 Pro Bono Hot List” and won Public Justice Foundation’s “2019 Trial Lawyer of the Year – Finalist” award. Mr. Sarola was a co-author of “INSIGHT: Holding Firearms Dealers Accountable for Online Straw Sales,” Bloomberg Law (December 19, 2018), which discussed this case and won a 2019 Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing.
Mr. Sarola received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he also earned a Certificate of Study in Business and Public Policy from the Wharton School. While in law school, he was a Summer Intern for the Honorable Clarence Newcomer, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.