Texas agency pays more than $15 million to settle False Claims Act allegations

by Andrew Murray | January 16th, 2020

On December 23, 2019, the Department of Justice announced the settlement. Texas Health and Human Services Commission (THHSC) was accused of violating the False Claims Act “in its administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)[.]” The Press Release states:

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The settlement resolves allegations that THHSC, beginning in 2009, contracted with Julie Osnes Consulting, LLC (Osnes Consulting) to provide advice and recommendations designed to lower its SNAP quality control error rate. The United States alleged that Osnes Consulting’s recommendations, as implemented by THHSC, inject bias into THHSC’s quality control process, and resulted in THHSC submitting false quality control data and information to USDA for which it received performance bonuses for fiscal years 2010, 2013, and 2014 to which it was not entitled.

This is the fifth settlement in this matter, and the fourth settlement with a state agency for manipulating its SNAP quality control findings.  The United States has reached previous settlements with state agencies in Virginia, Wisconsin, and Alaska, as well as with Osnes Consulting and its owner, Julie Osnes.  Including this settlement, the United States has now recovered over $32 million in connection with its investigation of deficient state SNAP quality control processes. 

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