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.
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August 26, 2016

In Their Own Words — Peterson

—  “A PREOCCUPATION WITH MOSTLY PHANTOM ELECTION FRAUD LEADS TO REAL INCIDENTS OF DISENFRANCHISEMENT, WHICH UNDERMINE RATHER THAN ENHANCE CONFIDENCE IN ELECTIONS, PARTICULARLY IN MINORITY COMMUNITIES.”

U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson, in an opinion striking down parts of Wisconsin’s strict voter ID law.  Click here for more.

August 26, 2016

Whistleblower News From The Inside — August 26, 2016

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

From nightmare drug to Celgene blockbuster, Thalidomide is back — Recently unsealed documents in a lawsuit by a company saleswoman-turned-whistleblower allege that the recent success of Thalomid (which is Thalidomine, renamed) is due to an aggressive campaign to encourage doctors to prescribe it and successor drugs to treat maladies beyond those the FDA authorized. Bloomberg

Three individuals indicted for $2.5M high-yield investment fraud — The indictment alleges that since January 2012, three individuals worked to sell stock in Niyato Industries Inc., a Nevada corporation marketed as a manufacturer of compressed natural gas automobiles that told investors it was planning an imminent stock IPO that would reap pre-IPO investors a tenfold return on their investments.  In reality, however, Niyato had no facilities, products, patents or plans for an imminent IPO, but rather was merely a vehicle for inducing investor funds.   DOJ

Study finds no evidence of widespread voter fraud —  Donald Trump has repeatedly alluded to fraud as a reason to introduce controversial voter ID laws, but a new study of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases in 50 states between 2000 and 2012 found the level of fraud was infinitesimal compared with the 146 million voters registered over the 12-year period. NBC

 Confronting tax fraud, Denmark will hire tax inspectors instead of firing them — Denmark will spend more than $1 billion to upgrade its tax inspection system, 10 years after it began sacking thousands of people who worked for the inspection office.  In the past three years alone, Denmark figures it has lost 12.3 billion Danish crowns ($1.87 billion) in tax fraud. Reuters

 Fraud trial delayed for Florida doctor linked to Sen. Menendez corruption case — The trial on health care fraud charges has been delayed until spring for a prominent Florida eye doctor also linked to a corruption case against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez.  Prosecutors claim the doctor misdiagnosed patients in a decade-long scheme to bilk Medicare out of up to $190 million, which allegedly involved use of multiple doses from single-use vials of a drug used to treat age-related eye degeneration.  AP

August 25, 2016

In Their Own Words — Schneiderman

— “Repaying Medicaid for false claims is not only vital to the integrity of the program. . . it is also the law.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, commenting on a recent Medicaid settlement involving the 60-day overpayment rule. Read more here.

August 25, 2016

Whistleblower News From The Inside — August 25, 2016

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Hospitals settle NY FCA case for $2.95M – Three Mt. Sinai Health System hospitals resolved allegations they knowingly retained over $844K in Medicaid overpayments; the whistleblower who initially brought the suit will receive $354K. NY Attorney General’s Office

Online public school founder admits to $8M in tax fraud – Nicholas Trombetta, founder and former CEO of an online public school that educates thousands of Pennsylvania students, pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal tax fraud, acknowledging he siphoned more than $8M from The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School through for-profit and nonprofit companies he controlled. ABC News

Melbourne’s APCR Australia Prostate Cancer Centre accused of Medicare fraud – Australian officials are investigating a prominent Melbourne cancer clinic accused of double dipping from federal and state health funding. The Age

Kennesaw State University whistleblower sues school – A former Kennesaw State University employee alleges the university retaliated against her for blowing the whistle on kickbacks related to dining services. WSB-TV Atlanta

Romanian health official detained over bribery allegations – Anti-corruption prosecutors detained Lazar Iordache, the Deputy Chief of Romania’s National Medicine Agency, on allegations he promised other officials payments if they approved hospital deals. Miami Herald

Maltese Police considering action against medical visa whistleblower – Maltese officials, who found no wrongdoing after investigating a whistleblower’s complaint that the Maltese government accepted bribes in exchange for visas, are considering taking action against the whistleblower over false claims in his complaint. Times of Malta

August 24, 2016

In Their Own Words — Ghandi

— “There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.”

Mahatma Ghandi

August 24, 2016

Question of the Week: Should Facebook categorize its users based on political leanings?

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

In the perpetually polarizing 2016 election cycle, many individuals are wary to share their political views on social media platforms. However, that has not stopped the world’s largest social media network from attempting to come up with its own assessment of each user’s political leanings.

Skeptical? Once logged onto Facebook, complete the following steps and see for yourself: 1) visit facebook.com/ads/preferences; 2) scroll to the “Interests” header; 3) click on the “Lifestyle and Culture” tab; and 4) look for the box titled “US Politics.” This box should outline in parenthesis whether Facebook has categorized you as a liberal, moderate, or conservative.  click here for more »

August 24, 2016

Whistleblower News From The Inside — August 24, 2016

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Con man guilty of running penny-stock fraud scheme he started in prison – Edward Durante, who was convicted in 2001 of market manipulation, began a new scheme while serving time involving the use of unsuspecting brokers to defraud investors of more than $15 million.  Bloomberg

Former construction company executive guilty of conspiring to defraud government on SBA contracts – Walter Crummy, the former owner of MCC Construction Company, pleaded guilty to allegations that he illegal won dozens of government contracts reserved for small businesses worth over $70 million.  DOJ

Apollo Global Management settles SEC charges for $52.7 million – The private equity fund agreed to the payment to resolve allegations that it misled investors about certain fees it charged portfolio companies upon the IPO or sale of those companies and that it failed to adequately supervise a partner who charged personal expenses to the fund.  SEC

Orange County settles False Claims Act lawsuit against Tata Consultancy Services for $26 million – The international software vender based in Mumbai, India was accused of failing to deliver a property tax system under a contract with the county.  Voice of OC

Former UBS investment manager alleges whistleblower retaliation – Meraj Sepehrnia claims the Swiss bank unfairly dismissed him after he blew the whistle while working for the bank’s O’Connor hedge fund.  Reuters

August 23, 2016

Why You Should Care About National Whistleblower Appreciation Day

By Gordon Schnell

It’s sadly telling that last month National Whistleblower Appreciation Day (July 30) came and went with little notice let alone the fanfare it deserved. Obviously, we still have a long way to go in showing our appreciation for this undervalued group. But not for lack of trying, at least from Congress.  The U.S. Senate passed the resolution recognizing the special day on July 7 to honor whistleblowers for the critical role they play in protecting the country against fraud and misconduct.

click here for more »

August 23, 2016

In Their Own Words — Goto

— “THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO BRING ABOUT QUICKER RESOLUTION FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS AND THEIR EMPLOYERS REGARDING CLAIMS OF RETALIATION FOR REPORTING SAFETY AND OTHER CONCERNS ON THE JOB.”

Barbara Goto, OSHA’s regional administrator in San Francisco, on the agency’s new pilot process for expedited whistleblower review. Click here for more.

August 23, 2016

Whistleblower News From The Inside — August 23, 2016

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Court to Hear Whistleblower’s Case Alleging Celgene’s Aggressive Push of Thalidomide – A whistleblower suit claiming that Celegene defrauded government insurance programs in its marketing of Thalomid (a once-popular morning-sickness drug found to cause birth defects) has been cleared for trial.  Recently unsealed documents in the case allege that Thalomid’s success is due to an aggressive campaign to encourage doctors to prescribe it and successor drugs to treat maladies beyond those the FDA authorized.  Chicago Tribune

Three Companies Agree to Plead Guilty for Fixing Prices of Electrolytic – Rubycon Corporation, Elna Co., Ltd. and Holy Stone Holdings Co., Ltd. will plead guilty for their roles in a conspiracy to fix prices for electrolytic capacitors.  Two other companies, NEC TOKIN Corp. and Hitachi Chemical Co. Ltd., pleaded guilty to participating in the same worldwide conspiracy earlier this year and one individual has been indicted for his role in the scheme. DOJ

Tennessee Woman Sentenced to Prison for Filing False Claims for Refund – A Nashville woman has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for filing 48 fraudulent tax returns on behalf of friends, family and herself.  The returns falsely claimed more than $19.8 million in refunds.  The IRS issued $1,003,238 in refunds for eight of the 48 fraudulent returns.  DOJ

OSHA Pilots New, Expedited Whistleblower Review Process – The Department of Labor has launched a new pilot process in its Western region that allows certain whistleblowers to ask OSHA to expedite their claims.  The pilot became effective Aug. 1, in the agency’s San Francisco region, which includes California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, and the islands of American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.  OSHA

Federal Inmate, Co-Conspirator Indicted for Alleged Tax Fraud – A federal prisoner in Mississippi, along with a co-conspirator in West Tennessee, have been indicted for allegedly operating a tax fraud scheme.  During the course of the scheme, the inmate obtained personal identifying information and provided it to his co-conspirator on the outside who then prepared and filed fraudulent federal income tax returns using the information in an attempt to obtain income tax refunds. USAO W.D. Tenn.

New Mexico High Court Limits Scope of Whistleblower Law – The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that public employees cannot sue government officials as individuals under the state’s Whistleblower Protection Act. The court held the statute can only be used to bring suit against government agencies or officials serving in their public roles.  Santa Fe New Mexican