Whistleblower Insider

Whistleblower Insider is written by the Constantine Cannon law firm team of experienced qui tam and whistleblower lawyers. It is updated daily to provide the latest whistleblower and fraud news and developments.

October 7, 2015

In Their Own Words — New York Billboards

— “If You See Something, Do Something.”

The catchphrase to be used on billboards around New York City’s Financial District and on leaflets to be passed out in front of major banks as part of a newly announced Wall Street whistleblower campaign.  Click here for more.

October 7, 2015

Whistleblower News From The Inside — October 7, 2015

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Fifth Third to pay $85M to settle whistleblower charges of mortgage fraud — According to US Attorney Preet Bharara, the bank admitted failing to report to HUD roughly 1,400 defective mortgage loans it originated from 2003 through 2013.  DOJ

PharMerica to pay $9.25M to settle whistleblower charges of illegal kickbacks —  According to the whistleblowers and government, the nation’s second-largest nursing home pharmacy solicited and received kickbacks from Abbott Laboratories in exchange for promoting the prescription drug Depakote for nursing home patients.  DOJ

Government watchdog finds OSHA whistleblower program in need of serious repair — A review by the inspector general of the US Labor Department found that the federal officials responsible for protecting whistleblowers and examining their claims of retaliation are mishandling nearly one in five of their investigations.  FairWarning

Former UN leader charged in alleged bribery scheme — John Ashe, the former UN ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda and General Assembly president from September 2013 to September 2014, “sold himself and the global institution he led” by allegedly pocketing more than $1 million in bribes to finance a luxury spending spree, according to the government.  CNN

New Wall Street whistleblower campaign announced — “On the heels of the seventh anniversary of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), Wall Street’s bailout for the 2008 financial crisis, a new campaign called Whistleblower Wall Street is encouraging bank employees to take action against illegal financial activity.”  Fox

Whistleblower sues Honolulu rail construction company — John McCaughey, who quit as the head of Ansaldo Honolulu’s construction safety program in July because he thought the company was jeopardizing workers’ safety, says the company — which is being paid $1.4 billion to build the trains and operate them — cut corners by not hiring the required safety experts.  Hawaii News

October 6, 2015

In Their Own Words — Carr

— “The department several years ago handled more cases based on self-reporting by companies, and as a result of that we saw more resolutions, but smaller cases.  We are currently focusing on bigger, higher impact cases, including those against culpable individuals, both in the U.S. and abroad.”

Department of Justice spokesman Peter Carr discussing the agency’s new focus in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases.

October 6, 2015

Whistleblower News From The Inside — October 6, 2015

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

New whistleblower rules in the UK – The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority has announced new rules for whistleblowers in the finance sector, but there are still no rewards provided.  BBC

Connecticut recognizes First Amendment protection for whistleblowers – Connecticut’s Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision holding that the First Amendment protects whistleblowers from retaliation in the private sector.  Reuters

United Nations bribery scheme – U.S. authorities are investigating allegations that UN officials were bribed in exchange for support of a real-estate development in Macau.  Wall Street Journal

Army contractor hit with False Claims Act lawsuit – Odyssey Marketing Group allegedly defrauded the government by selling marketing materials for the U.S. Army Reserve Command under invalid contracts.  Triangle Business Journal

Justice Department goes after bigger bribery cases – The agency announced that it is focusing on “higher impact” violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as opposed to the several smaller, self-reported cases it has dealt with in the past.  Wall Street Journal

October 5, 2015

In Their Own Words — Jackson

— “Hospice care is only medically appropriate – and reimbursed by Medicare – for terminally ill patients who are in the last months of their lives.  We will continue to vigorously investigate health care companies that put their own profits above their duty to give appropriate medical care to their patients and bill Medicare only for legitimate health care services.”  

Special Agent in Charge Derrick L. Jackson of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG)

October 5, 2015

Whistleblower News From The Inside — October 5, 2015

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

United States Settles False Claims Act Suit against Guardian Hospice — Guardian and related entities agreed to pay $3 million to resolve allegations that Guardian knowingly submitted false claims to the Medicare program for hospice patients who were not terminally ill. The case was initiated by whistleblowers Rose Betts and Jennifer Williams, former employees of Guardian, who will receive approximately $510,000 of the $3 million settlement.  DOJ

Home Health Agency Agrees to $16 million judgment — Nurses’ Registry and Home Health Corporation and the estate of its former owner have agreed to the entry of a judgment against them for $16,000,000 to resolve allegations of widespread healthcare fraud first made in a whistleblower case alleging that Nurses’ Registry fraudulently billed Medicare for medically unnecessary home health services, as well as services tainted by kickbacks provided by the company and its owner to local physicians and others who referred patients to Nurses’ Registry. Nurses’ Registry and its owner regularly delivered bottles of liquor and other enticements to referral sources and provided tickets to athletic events and concerts. This practice was so commonplace that physicians would contact the home health agency to ask for tickets to popular events, such as Taylor Swift concerts or the Kentucky Derby.  The whistleblowers, former employees Alisia Robinson-Hill and David Price, will receive between 15 and 20 percent of the settlement proceeds.   DOJ

SEC Charges Bristol-Myers Squibb With FCPA Violations — Pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to pay more than $14 million to settle charges that its joint venture in China made cash payments and provided other benefits to health care providers at state-owned and state-controlled hospitals in exchange for prescription sales.  SEC

Operator of $228 Million Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme Sentenced to Prison — Duffy R. Dashner, aka Kevin Dashner, of Reseda, California, was sentenced to serve 57 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,769,418 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), following his guilty plea for conspiring to submit false claims.  DOJ

Bill targets VA whistle-blower retaliation — Two GOP senators have introduced legislation to halt retaliation against whistleblowers at the Department of Veteran Affairs.  Other provisions of the bill include allowing for the removal or demotion of an agency head who retaliates against a whistleblower, and providing training to supervisors on how to respond to whistle-blowers’ complaints.  The Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act is named in honor of a psychologist at a VA medical center, who committed suicide after he was fired for questioning the over-medication of patients.  The Hill

Former aides sue Michigan reps for wrongful termination and violation of whistle-blower protection laws — Michigan state representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat entered the national limelight last month when it became public that they had tried to conceal an affair in part by  spreading anonymous rumors regarding substance abuse and prostitution patronage by Rep. Courser, in a misguided effort to minimize the anticipated outcry regarding his infidelity.  Now, two former aides have brought an action alleging that they were fired because they refused to engage in a cover-up of the affair, including sending out an anonymous e-mail authored by Courser.  Detroit Free Press

October 2, 2015

In Their Own Words — Lamprey

—  “We are gratified to see the interests of participants in the CDS market – including public pension funds investing on behalf of retirees – vindicated, and competition in this important market fostered.”  

Wayne Lamprey, partner at Constantine Cannon, who, along with fellow partner Anne Hayes Hartman, assisted with the initial evaluation and filing of the claim in the credit-default swaps market case on behalf of the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association and the class.  Click here for more.

October 2, 2015

DOJ Catch of the Week — L-3 Communications

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

This week’s Department of Justice “Catch of the Week” goes to L-3 Communications Corporation and its affiliated entities Vertex Aerospace LLC and L-3 Communications Integrated Systems LP.  On Monday, the government defense contractor agreed to pay $4.63 million to resolve allegations it inflated labor hours for time spent by independent contractors at the military’s Continental US Replacement Centers (CRC) in Fort Benning, Georgia, and Fort Bliss, Texas.  The CRCs prepare individuals for deployment to overseas posts to support US military operations by providing orientation briefings, training, health screenings, payroll processing and addressing other administrative matters.  See DOJ Press Release.

L-3 performed rotary aviation maintenance and support services for the US Army in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Kuwait under contracts with the US Air Force.  According to the government, from 2006 through November 2011, L-3 knowingly overcharged the government for time their independent contractors spent at the CRCs by billing for each individual not based on the actual time that individual spent at the CRC, but based instead on the earliest arrival or latest departure time of any other individual who also processed through the center that same day.

click here for more »

October 2, 2015

Whistleblower News From The Inside — October 2, 2015

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

JPMorgan to pay a third of $1.86B swaps settlement — JPMorgan Chase & Co is set to pay almost a third of a $1.86 billion settlement to resolve claims that a dozen big banks conspired to limit competition in the credit-default swaps market, with Morgan Stanley, Barclays Plc and Goldman Sachs Group paying about $230 million, $175 million and $164 million, respectivelyReuters

Strata Pathology resolves Kickback case — Massachusetts-based Strata Pathology Laboratory, Inc., has agreed to pay $558,793 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by inducing physicians to refer Medicare and Medicaid patients to Strata by paying kickbacks in the form of sham consulting fees and providing unlawful discounts to physicians.  DOJ

SEC halts $32M pyramid scheme — The SEC today announced it has filed fraud charges and obtained asset freezes against the operator of a worldwide pyramid scheme that falsely promised investors would profit from a venture purportedly backed by the company’s massive amber holdings. SEC

Cambodia to get whistleblower law — The head of Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit said Thursday that the body’s jurist group had begun drafting a new law to protect witnesses and whistleblowers who come forward with information about graft and other crimes.  Cambodia Daily

Two more sentenced to prison for roles in salmonella-tainted peanut butter—Two former officials of the Peanut Corporation of America were sentenced to prison for their roles in a conspiracy to defraud their customers by knowingly shipping salmonella-positive peanut products – the sentences follow last week’s sentencing of PCA’s former president who received 28 years in prison. DOJ

October 2, 2015

$1.86 Billion Dollar Credit Default Swaps Settlement: One of the Largest Since the Financial Crisis

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Constantine Cannon LLP is pleased to announce a $1.86 billion settlement of In Re:  Credit Default Swaps Antitrust Litigation, a major class action lawsuit. The case alleged that 11 of the world’s largest banks conspired to restrain competition in the credit default (CDS) market.  See yesterday’s Wall Street Journal report.  Constantine Cannon was counsel for the lead class plaintiff, the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA).

click here for more »