This week’s Department of Justice “Catch of the Week” goes to California-based medical device manufacturer NuVasive Inc. Yesterday, the company agreed to pay $13.5 million to resolve charges it improperly promoted the company’s CoRoent System for spine surgeries for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The settlement also resolves allegations NuVasive paid illegal kickbacks to induce physicians to use the company’s CoRoent System. See DOJ Press Release.
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.
Five additional whistleblower lawyers have joined Constantine Cannon’s growing whistleblower practice, making it one of the largest and most experienced in the country. The new additions are Mary Inman, Jessica Moore and Ari Yampolsky in the firm’s San Francisco office, and Tim McCormack and Molly Knobler in the firm’s Washington, DC office. Christine Zengel and Janice LeBon have also joined the firm as Whistleblower Practice Manager and Paralegal, respectively. Click here for the firm’s press release.
— “The national security space is an extraordinary blanket, exempted to make it incredibly dangerous to speak truth to power, to reveal wrongdoing without suffering huge consequences…I’m the exceptional price you pay.”
Thomas Drake speaking to a crowd on National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. Click here for more.
Thomas Drake speaks frankly about blowing the whistle – Former NSA executive and whistleblower Thomas Drake takes time off from his job at the Apple store to speak to a crowd on National Whistleblower Appreciation Day about his experiences blowing the whistle and his inability to find employment in his field after doing so. Newsmax
Kaplan and Lincoln Technical Institute pay millions to former students – For-profit schools Lincoln Technical Institute and Kaplan Career Institute will pay hundreds of their former students more than $2.3 million to resolve allegations that they inflated job placement numbers and employed unfair recruiting tactics to persuade prospective students to enroll in their programs. Mass.gov
California oncologist settles False Claims Act case — A Stockton oncologist has paid $736,000 to settle allegations that he improperly billed Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare for certain chemotherapy drugs purchased from an unlicensed foreign pharmaceutical distributor. DOJ
China’s anti-corruption probe takes down top general — Guo Boxiong, former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, was expelled from the Communist Party for taking bribes, making him the most senior ranking official in the People’s Liberation Army to be toppled for corruption. The Economist
Report shows fraud and corruption on the rise in Australia — The Australian Institute of Criminology released a report looking at fraud against the commonwealth over three years, finding fraud and corruption is on the rise and had cost taxpayers $530 million. SBS
Former NHL forward Berezin arrested for alleged fraud — Former pro hockey player Sergei Berezin and his wife have been arrested in Palm Beach County and are facing allegations of Medicaid and food stamp fraud following an undercover investigation. NBC
— “Is it the weather? Is it because it’s beautiful and the fraudsters want to live here? Is it because it’s such a melting pot and you have organized crime from all ethnic groups? Any fraud, it always seems to start here.”
Kelly Jackson, the IRS’s top criminal investigator in South Florida, speculating about why South Florida is the organized fraud capital of America.
It’s National Whistleblower Day! — On this day in 1778, the Continental Congress enacted the first whistleblower law. Just days ago, the Senate passed a resolution urging federal agencies to celebrate whistleblowers. And today, Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden—who head the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus—along with Senators Ron Johnson, Tammy Baldwin, Thom Tillis, Mark Kirk, and Tom Carper, will fete whistleblowers and their allies at the first-ever National Whistleblower Day Lunch on Capitol Hill. Huffington Post, Washington Times, and Minnesota Post
Medicare and Medicaid turn 50 today — On this day in 1965, President Johnson signed into law legislation that established the Medicare and Medicaid programs. For 50 years, these programs have protected the health and well-being of millions of Americans, saved lives, and improved our economic security. But a new report from says Medicare is losing an estimated $60 billion a year to fraud, waste, abuse. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, ABC News, and Government Accountability Office
VA whistleblower on reporting wrongdoing: ‘Prepare for hell’ — More than a year into a nationwide crisis in veterans health care, several government whistleblowers who exposed deadly faults in the Veterans Administration addressed the annual Whistle Blower Summit, telling potential whistleblowers how to tell the truth while protecting themselves from retaliation. Stars and Stripes
Feds Get New Help From GAO To Fight Fraud — Officials at the Government Accountability Office have a new tool to help federal agencies protect hundreds of billions of tax dollars from being lost to fraud. The Daily Caller and Government Accountability Office
South Florida is the organized fraud capital of America — Over the past decade or so, the three most populous South Florida counties — Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach — have become less renowned for old-school “Miami Vice”-style drug shootouts than for scammers stealing hundreds of millions from the government, banks and individuals by using laptops, stolen identities and fake medical procedures. New York Post
Congressman Chaka Fattah charged in racketeering conspiracy — Congressman Fattah (D-PA) and four of his associates were indicted today for their roles in a racketeering conspiracy involving several schemes intended to further their political and financial interests by, among other tactics, misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal, charitable and campaign funds. Department of Justice
SEC nears record-setting $20m settlement in “dark pool” investigation — Dark pool operator Investment Technology Group Inc. disclosed Wednesday that it will likely pay $20 million to settle SEC allegations that a unit ran an experimental trading program in the dark pool that violated customer information disclosure rules. The SEC’s investigation focused on a test program run from 2010 until mid-2011 that involved proprietary trading inside of ITG’s POSIT dark pool against some of its broker clients that the firm did not disclose. Reuters and Bloomberg
Mead Johnson Nutrition Company agreed to pay $12 million to settle SEC findings that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (“FCPA”). An SEC investigation found that employees of Mead Johnson’s Chinese subsidiary made improper payments to healthcare professionals at government-owned hospitals to induce them to recommend Mead Johnson’s infant formula to new or expectant mothers. See SEC Press Release.
The SEC investigation found that improper payments were funded through “distributor allowance” funds. Mead Johnson paid third-party distributors to market, sell, and distribute the company’s products in China. But Mead Johnson employees continued to exercise some control over how the funds were spent and provided specific guidance to distributors on how to use the funds. Cash and other incentives were subsequently paid to health care professionals in China hospitals to recommend Mead Johnson Nutrition products and to provide the company with contact information for patients who were new or expectant mothers so it could market its infant formula to them directly.
In a town of acronyms, who doesn’t love the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (“GIPSA”)? GIPSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) tasked with overseeing livestock, poultry, meat and other agricultural markets. In particular, the agency is responsible for promoting fair business practices within the meat production markets, but for years it has been limited by statute in its ability to do so. This may be about to change. Farmers have long complained about abusive and anti-competitive practices within the meat production industries, but due to a little satire and celebrity attention, GIPSA may finally have its day.
In 1921, the “Packers and Stockyards Act” was born. The law was intended to assure fair business practices and competitive markets for consumers and participants in the livestock, meat, and poultry industries. It was enacted after the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) conducted a review of the meat packing industry and reported back “an intricate fabric of ‘monopolies, controls, combinations, conspiracies, and restraints.’”
Today is National Whistleblower Appreciation Day and, to mark the occasion, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) is hosting a panel discussion — Whistleblower Rights Campaigns in the 114th Congress – as part of a three day Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights.
The GAP panel is set to feature prominent whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Robert MacLean, as well as high-profile whistleblower advocates including GAP’s Legal Director Tom Devine. Topics for discussion include the need for jury trials to enforce Whistleblower Protection Act rights for federal employees, the rise in retaliation through criminal investigations and prosecutions, and the challenge for national security whistleblowers after cancellation of preexisting rights for working within the system has sparked classified leaks.
— (Expletive) the community. . . . Who gives a (expletive)? You own the place, you do what you want with it. (Expletive) them! What are they going to say about it?
Hospital owner Edward Novak, who was secretly recorded in February 2013 just before his arrest on charges of running a massive fraud scheme.