Boston, MA – Attorney General Maura Healey recently announced a $300,000 settlement with a Massachusetts personal injury law firm that handles workers’ compensation cases, resolving claims that the law firm accepted tens of thousands of dollars in illegal kickbacks from a pharmacy in exchange for referring hundreds of its injured clients.
In a consent judgment filed in Suffolk Superior Court Keches Law Group, P.C. admitted referring approximately 800 of its clients and potential clients to Injured Workers Pharmacy (IWP) to fill prescriptions in exchange for payments totaling about $90,000. The judgment, which resolves a lawsuit filed by AG Healey against Keches in September 2020, follows a court order denying Keches’ bid for summary judgment against the Commonwealth. The court concluded that “at trial, a reasonable fact-finder could find that Keches engaged in an unfair trade practice that violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and thereby violated [the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act].” The consent judgment remains subject to court approval.
“Law firms shouldn’t break the law, and they certainly shouldn’t profit off their clients’ injuries through illegal kickbacks,” AG Healey said. “Today’s settlement resolves our lawsuit against Keches Law Group and directs much-needed funds to our state.”
According to the AG’s complaint, Keches entered into two agreements with IWP, including one where IWP paid for Keches’ social events – including an X1 racing event, a yacht outing, and a nearly $24,000 holiday luncheon – in exchange for referrals.
Under the terms of the consent judgment, Keches is required to obtain its clients’ informed consent in writing before making referrals for money and to pay $300,000—more than three times the amount of illegal kickbacks Keches accepted under the scheme. Of that amount, $100,000 will go to the Commonwealth’s Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchase Trust Fund and $200,000 will go to the Commonwealth’s General Fund for penalties, fees, and costs.
The AG’s Office began investigating Keches in connection with an investigation into IWP’s dispensing practices that resulted in an $11 million consent judgment resolving claims that the pharmacy violated the state’s consumer protection law by failing to implement adequate safeguards against unlawful and dangerous controlled substance dispensing and by paying kickbacks for new patient referrals.
This matter was handled by Senior Enforcement Counsel Gillian Feiner, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Lashof-Sullivan and Paralegal Philipp Nowak of the AG’s Health Care and Fair Competition Bureau, with assistance from Assistant Attorney General David Kim, Deputy General Counsel Paula McManus, and Investigator Marlee Greer of the AG’s Civil Investigations Division.
Source: MA AG’s Office