Date to be Published: 10/13/20
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
BLOOD MONEY is the true legal thriller of a terrifying David vs. Goliath
fight against massive healthcare fraud by a brave Whistleblower. It
includes attempted murder, extortion, money-laundering, fraudsters hiding
money in the Cayman Islands, gold buried in a storage container in a
CEO’s backyard, an Assistant Attorney General sabotaging her
state’s case, and a corrupt Governor torpedoing litigation by his own
Attorney General. From Silicon Valley to the Sunshine State, in a
showdown that reads like a Hollywood movie, Chris Riedel survives to share
it all. His actions have resulted in more than $550 million in settlements
and a court verdict… and counting.
Blood Money is the story of how a Silicon Valley CEO became a fraud fighter. It is an insider’s look at the David vs. Goliath struggle between a whistleblower seeking to save his company and stop taxpayers from being ripped-off, and healthcare companies engaged in massive fraud. Along the way, it exposes what it is like to work with government prosecutors.
I lived the Silicon Valley dream, founding my first company at twenty-four, and then starting two others while I was still a young man. The first two companies revolutionized how bacterial infections were diagnosed and treated—saving hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.
My third company, Meris Laboratories, jumped to another level entirely. Between 1988-90, it experienced the fastest growth among 2,000 labs in the industry, and delivered the highest pre-tax profit margins. In 1991, we achieved the ultimate Silicon Valley aspiration by leading the company through an initial public offering (IPO). A secondary offering (SPO) followed six months later. A month after the SPO, Business Week selected Meris as the fortieth best small business in America — out of over 20 million registered small companies. We were deeply honored.
We decided to celebrate our success in the best possible way: a few months after the SPO, I retired after twenty-two years in healthcare. I was forty-five years old. For someone who grew up in a lower middle-class family, you can only imagine how proud I felt.
During the 1990s, two labs (dubbed the “Blood Brothers” by Wall Street analysts) grew to dominate the industry: Quest Diagnostics and Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp). When my wife, Marcia, and I came back into the industry 11 years after we retired, the California laboratory industry had changed. Instead of walking into a level playing field for all labs, what we found was a rigged deck, a broad pattern of corruption, kickbacks, price gouging, and naked profiteering. This made it impossible for honest competitors, like our Hunter Labs, to survive.
Even worse, I discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars were being stolen from California’s Medicaid system.
This corruption was anything but a victimless crime. Beyond California’s taxpayers, many others were getting harmed, namely California’s oldest, sickest, and poorest. What I found was that the Blood Brother-dominated laboratory testing market in California had devolved largely into profiteering by the greedy at the expense of the needy.
These frauds were not accidents. They were core business plans, designed and sanctioned at the top. I learned of this as the “big wink” that goes on every day in American healthcare. If you want to be a big or mid-sized player in the healthcare arena, you quickly find out that you must make a choice: join the fraud team or go home. One of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Merck, was described by an Assistant U.S. Attorney at a Taxpayers Against Fraud conference as: “Organized crime masquerading as a drug company.”
I never imagined I would become a fraud fighter. My closest friends, also successful businessmen, despised anyone who sued corporations—particularly whistleblowers. This held throughout corporate America, which views whistleblowers as pariahs instead of people who stand for integrity and fair business and employment practices. Was I about to become something they despised?
About the Author
CHRIS RIEDEL is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has founded five healthcare companies and served as the Chairman and CEO of all. Chris achieved the Silicon Valley dream when he took his third company public in 1991. A few months later, it was ranked by Business Week as the 40th best small company in America. Soon after founding a fourth company, his battle against healthcare fraud began. In 2011, he received the Taxpayers Against Fraud Whistleblower of the Year award.