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Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Steven Llanes

Steven Llanes

Counsel

Expertise

  • Litigation
  • Health Care Litigation, Investigations & Compliance
  • Corporate Investigations & Integrity
  • Health Care Investigations, Compliance, & Litigation

WSG Practice Industries

Activity

Lowenstein Sandler LLP
New Jersey, U.S.A.

Profile

Steven brings a highly effective combination of business and government experience to his litigation practice, which focuses on corporate and government internal investigations and integrity, data privacy, and cybersecurity matters. He also advises clients on government affairs and handles complex commercial litigation, arbitration, and mediation matters. A member of the firm's e-discovery task force, Steven was named New Jersey's Young Privacy Professional Leader by the International Association of Privacy Professionals. He also co-founded the firm’s Diversity Leadership Network.

Before joining the firm, Steven earned firsthand experience in public policy, public relations, and corporate affairs. As a White House presidential appointee, policy analyst, and spokesperson at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C., he served as a national media spokesperson on preparedness issues and coordinated the U.S.-UK Joint Contact Group—a transatlantic alliance to promote cooperation in areas such as cybersecurity. In the private sector, Steven later worked at KPMG, where he advised firm partners and senior executives, handled crisis management matters, and managed public relations issues for the firm's corporate social responsibility, ethics and compliance, and recruiting initiatives.

During law school, Steven served as a judicial intern in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and participated in the Seton Hall University School of Law Civil Litigation and Practice Clinic. Steven also served as a congressional intern in the U.S. House of Representatives during college.

Committed to community, Steven provides pro bono legal representation to New Jersey’s immigrant community, serves on the New Jersey Center for Civic Education’s board of directors and on Montclair (NJ) Township’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee, and is a regent on Saint Peter’s University’s board of regents. He is also a 2018 Presidential Leadership Scholar—a selective executive development initiative organized through the collaboration of the presidential centers of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush. Throughout the years, Steven has also served in a volunteer advisory capacity to three U.S. presidential campaigns.

Bar Admissions

    New York
    New Jersey

Education

Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D. 2013), Article Editor, Seton Hall Legislative Journal, "Best Brief Award" and "Best Oralist Award," Seton Hall Law Appellate Advocacy Program (2012)
Harvard University (M.A. 2004), Public Policy, Public Policy & International Affairs Fellowship
Saint Peter's University (B.A. 2002), summa cum laude, Communications and Political Science, Student Body President, Alpha Sigma Nu (National Jesuit Honor Society)
Areas of Practice

Corporate Investigations & Integrity | Health Care Investigations, Compliance, & Litigation | Health Care Litigation, Investigations & Compliance | Litigation | Privacy & Cybersecurity | Privacy and Information Security | White Collar Criminal Defense

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

Represented an investment firm that was subject to a cyber attack. Facilitated coordination between the client, its investors, federal and state law enforcement agencies, and several banking institutions, which led to the recovery of over 80 percent of the stolen funds.

Represented a celebrity author/consultant who was impersonated online by a perpetrator who sought to extract payment from the author’s social media followers and clientele. Successfully protected author and her clients, and prevented the misappropriation of funds, through coordinated law enforcement and social media efforts.

Conduct ongoing investigations for a Fortune 500 company in response to suspected cyber-related threats, scams, and inquiries.

Managed a team hired by a provider of Medicaid-funded services as monitor for the administration of its Medicaid program. Responsibilities included ensuring that all Medicaid funds received and administered by the provider were spent appropriately, reviewing Medicaid claims and expenditures on a weekly basis, submitting ongoing monitorship reports to the New Jersey Comptroller’s Office, and developing long-term, organization-wide internal controls for the provider, including a robust compliance program.

Represented the New Jersey Division of Equal Employment Opportunity in conducting an investigation into allegations of workplace discrimination at the New Jersey National Guard.

Represented the New Jersey Division of Equal Employment Opportunity in conducting an internal investigation into alleged misconduct by a senior official at a New Jersey university.

On behalf of the Sussex County, New Jersey, Board of Freeholders conducted an investigation into a solar energy initiative that had resulted in the county experiencing millions of dollars in financial losses.

Represented a Fortune 500 company in an internal investigation related to several allegations that were made to the board of directors concerning the company's chief compliance officer.

Represented a marketing executive at a medical device company in connection with a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into allegations of unlawful kickbacks and off-label marketing. Assisted in negotiating and obtaining a non-prosecution agreement.

Represent a co-respondent of the State of New Jersey in eight appellate matters, each challenging a State Department of Health’s decision to award our client (and others) certain alternative treatment center permits.

Handled high-stakes litigation and related client counseling in a wide range of areas including white collar criminal, securities, bankruptcy-related, commercial real estate, and government compliance matters.

Speaking Engagements

Steven Llanes will present "Doing Business in Cuba: Legal Considerations, Opportunities, and Hurdles for New Jersey Companies" at the Association of Corporate Counsel – New Jersey's Annual All Day CLE Conference. The presentation will focus on the historic and recent normalization of diplomatic and trade relations; opportunities presented by the related legal and regulatory changes; and the hurdles and legal considerations, such as the FCPA, facing New Jersey companies contemplating doing business outside the U.S.

Steven Llanes has been invited by the Hispanic Bar Association's Young Lawyers Committee to present a CLE presentation entitled "Legal Ethics Online and in Social Media." Steven will discuss how young lawyers can utilize social media as both a practice and promotion tool while also avoiding any ethical pitfalls. The CLE will be held at Catas Restaurant and Lounge in Newark, with cocktails, tapas, and networking to follow the presentation.



Professional Associations


  • Member, New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, Hispanic National Bar Association
  • Member, Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

Professional Activities and Experience

Accolades
  • New Jersey Law Journal - Steven Llanes
  • Maverick PAC’s 2018 Future 40 list (Llanes)
  • 2018 Presidential Leadership Scholar (Llanes)
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals: New Jersey's Young Privacy Professional Leader (Llanes)

Articles

DOJ Releases Updated Guidance for Evaluating Corporate Compliance Programs
Lowenstein Sandler LLP, June 2020

Use of Data Analytics and Access to Compliance Resources Among New Considerations On June 1, 2020, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) updated its “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs,” a guidance document used by prosecutors to assess compliance programs. Prosecutors use the document in making charging decisions pertaining to companies and in imposing obligations such as a corporate monitorship...

U.S. Supreme Court Rules for Privacy Protections in Requiring a Warrant to Access Cell Tower Location Data
Lowenstein Sandler LLP, July 2018

On June 22, 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled inCarpenter v. United Statesthat the federal government needs a warrant to collect location data about cellphone users. Authored by Chief Justice John G...

Additional Articles

The FCPA recently celebrated its 40th birthday. For most of those four decades, the United States has dominated international anti-corruption enforcement, however, new global players and partners are emerging: the U.K., France and Brazil have become key partners with the United States on anti-corruption actions. That is continuing – in fact, just this summer, Honeywell International Inc. announced that both the United States and Brazil are investigating the company for potential FCPA violations.


Beyond just partnering with the U.S., nations around the world are developing and strengthening their own enforcement mechanisms. This is creating new dynamics for anti-corruption enforcement, with the potential for both complementary and conflicting overlap. This article discusses five growing trends to consider in the area of cross-border anti-corruption investigations and actions.


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The federal health care Anti-Kickback Statute (Federal AKS) targets bribery and corruption in the health care industry. There are two core provisions of the Federal AKS: one targeting the bribe recipient and one targeting the bribe payer. Specifically, the statute prohibits receiving “any remuneration . . . in return for” health care referrals or purchases reimbursable under a federal health insurance program, such as Medicare.[1] And it prohibits paying any remuneration “to induce” health care referrals or purchases reimbursable under such a federal program.[2]


The Federal AKS is an incredibly far-reaching law giving federal enforcement agencies an arsenal of weapons to target questionable business arrangements in the health care industry. The term “remuneration” is defined open-endedly to mean “anything of value.”[3] And “anything of value” means just that: There is no de minimis remuneration under the Federal AKS.[4] To prove a violation of the statute, the government need only demonstrate that one of the many possible purposes of paying remuneration was the inducement of the purchase of the federally reimbursable goods or services.[5] Additionally, courts generally will not engage in a “splitting of hairs” when it comes to discerning the meaning of words such as “refer” and “recommend,” relying instead on the broad, prophylactic purposes of the statute.[6] Also, the plain language of the Federal AKS suggests that a quid pro quo is unnecessary for a payer of remuneration (i.e., a bribe payer) to violate the statute, raising the possibility that a health care company, provider, or individual could violate the statute simply by paying money to induce product usage, even if the recipient has not agreed to use the product in return for the money (i.e., even if the recipient of the “bribe” does not know he or she is being bribed).[7]


Given the expansive reach of the Federal AKS, there are a number of statutory and regulatory exceptions and “safe harbors” to the law. For example, the statute’s restrictions do not apply to “a discount or other reduction in price” if a number of requirements are met.[8] Likewise, “bona fide employment relationship[s]” are insulated from the statute’s prohibitions,[9] as are “personal services and management contracts,”[10] as well as formal “referral services.”[11] But even these safe harbors typically have numerous and cumbersome requirements, and if each such requirement is not strictly met, the conduct is subject to criminal prosecution or other enforcement measures.


Compliance with the Federal AKS is something of an industry unto itself, but the federal statute represents only part of the risk for health care companies, providers, and individuals. All but one of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have analogous commercial bribery laws on the books that target corruption in the health care industry.[12] And of these 51 jurisdictions, 35 proscribe kickbacks and the like in the health care industry even if the goods or services are reimbursable only by private health insurance and involve no public money at all. These additional state laws and regulations thus often reach far beyond their federal counterpart.  Accordingly, any complete and fulsome analysis of an individual’s or entity’s anti-kickback exposure necessarily requires separate consideration of these state law analogues. 


Access the State Health Care Anti-Kickback Analogues survey.




 


[1] 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(1).
[2] 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(2).
[3] E.g.United States v. Narco Freedom, Inc., 95 F. Supp. 3d 747, 756 (S.D.N.Y. 2015) (citing Klaczak v. Consol. Med. Transp., 458 F. Supp. 2d 622, 678 (N.D. Ill. 2006)).
[4] See Medicare and State Health Care Programs: Fraud and Abuse; Revisions to the Safe Harbors Under the Anti-Kickback Statute and Civil Monetary Penalty Rules Regarding Beneficiary Inducements, 81 Fed. Reg. 88368, 88379 (Dec. 7, 2016) (“[T]he anti-kickback statute does not have any exceptions for items or services of nominal value.”); Medicare and State Health Care Programs: Fraud and Abuse; OIG Anti-Kickback Provisions, 56 Fed. Reg. 35952, 35954 (July 29, 1991) (rejecting commentators’ call for de minimis safe harbor).
[5] See, e.g.United States v. Nagelvoort, 856 F.3d 1117, 1130 (7th Cir. 2017); United States v. Borrasi, 639 F.3d 774, 781-82 (7th Cir. 2011); United States v. Kats, 871 F.2d 105, 108 n.1 (9th Cir. 1989); United States v. Greber, 760 F.2d 68, 71-72 (3d Cir. 1985); Polk County v. Peters, 800 F. Supp. 1451, 1455-56 (E.D. Tex. 1992) (holding that an agreement by a hospital to give a doctor an interest-free loan in exchange for the doctor’s exclusive use of the hospital for his patients was illegal and thus unenforceable, notwithstanding that “the hospital may well have been motivated to a greater or lesser degree by a legitimate desire to make better medical services available to the community”).
[6] United States v. Polin, 194 F.3d 863, 866 (7th Cir. 1999) (upholding conviction of defendants operating a pacemaker monitoring company who offered to pay a pacemaker sales representative to direct patients to the company, even though the sales representative was not the ultimate decision-maker on which company was selected to monitor the pacemaker); see also United States v. Patel, 778 F.3d 607, 612-16 (7th Cir. 2015) (rejecting a doctor-defendant’s argument that a “referral” cannot by definition occur when a patient “independently chooses a provider” without any “input from the physician,” reasoning that the purpose of the statute extends the meaning of “referral” to the doctor-defendant’s certifications and recertifications of medical necessity for services provided by a home health care service that was paying him kickbacks); cf. OIG Advisory Op. No. 99-8, July 13, 1999 (referring loosely to new patients of podiatrists obtained as a result of free screenings at shoe stores as “referrals”).
[7] See Hanlester Network v. Shalala, 51 F.3d 1390, 1397 (9th Cir. 1995); Vana v. Vista Hosp. Sys., Inc., No. 233623, 1993 WL 597402, at *7 (Cal. Super. Ct. Riverside Cty. Nov. 15, 1993) (finding that an agreement can be unlawful even if only one party has the improper intent).
[8] 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(3)(A); 42 C.F.R. § 1001.952(h).
[9] 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(3)(B); 42 C.F.R. § 1001.952(i).
[10] 42 C.F.R. § 1001.952(d).
[11] 42 C.F.R. § 1001.952(f).
[12] Some of these are arguably even more onerous than the federal law. E.g., N.J. Admin. Code § 13:45J-1.3(c) (prohibiting a physician from accepting from a pharmaceutical company “any item of value that does not advance disease or treatment education,” including “pens, note pads, clipboards, mugs, or other items with a company or product logo, [as well as] floral arrangements”).


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