January 3, 2017

Top-10 Whistleblower Successes for 2016

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Here is our look-back at the top-10 whistleblower award recoveries for 2016. Click here for a chronological listing of all whistleblower recoveries for 2016.

10. Harry Markopolos — Famed Bernie Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos made a filing under the whistleblower provisions of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) which led to the agreement by Massachusetts-based State Street Bank and Trust Company to pay a total of at least $382.4 million to settle allegations that it deceived some of its custody clients when providing them with indirect foreign currency exchange (FX) services. DOJ

9. Genentech Whistleblower — Former Genentech Inc. employee Brian Shields will receive a whistleblower award of roughly $10 million from the $67 million Genentech and OSI Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay to resolve charges they violated the False Claims Act by making misleading statements about the effectiveness of the cancer drug Tarceva. Whistleblower Insider

8. Tax Court Whistleblowers — The U.S. Tax Court made a whistleblower award of $17.8 million to a pair of whistleblowers which for the first time includes a portion of criminal fines and civil forfeitures in addition to part of the taxes the government recouped because of information they provided. The parties involved in the case weren’t disclosed but it appears to stem from the prosecution of Wegelin & Co, the Swiss bank that closed after it pleaded guilty in 2013 to conspiring with U.S. taxpayers to hide money from the IRS. WSJ

7. SEC Whistleblower — The SEC issued an award of more than $20 million to a whistleblower who promptly came forward with valuable information that enabled the SEC to move quickly and initiate an enforcement action against wrongdoers before they could squander the money. SEC

6. SEC Whistleblower — The SEC issued an award of more than $22 million to a whistleblower whose detailed tip and extensive assistance helped the agency halt a well-hidden fraud at the company where the whistleblower worked. SEC

5. Kindred Healthcare Whistleblowers — Janet Halpin, a physical therapist and former rehabilitation manager of RehabCare Group, and Shawn Fahey, a RehabCare occupational therapist, will receive a whistleblower award of nearly $24 million from the $125 million RehabCare Group and its Kentucky-based parent, Kindred Healthcare, Inc., agreed to pay to resolve allegations of violating the False Claims Act by knowingly causing skilled nursing facilities to submit false claims to Medicare for rehabilitation therapy services that were not reasonable, necessary and skilled, or that never occurred at all. Whistleblower Insider

4. Life Care Center Whistleblowers — Tammie Taylor and Glenda Martin, former employees of Life Care Centers of America Inc., the Tennessee-based operator of more than 220 skilled nursing facilities, will receive a whistleblower award of $29 million from the $145 million Life Care Centers agreed to pay to resolve charges that Life Care violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims to Medicare and TRICARE for rehabilitation therapy services that were not reasonable, necessary or skilled. Whistleblower Insider

3. Olympus Whistleblower — John Slowik, former chief compliance officer of Olympus Corp. of America, the country’s largest distributor of endoscopes and related equipment, will receive a whistleblower award of roughly $51 million from the $623.2 million Olympus agreed to pay to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute through a scheme to pay kickbacks to doctors and hospitals. Whistleblower Insider

2. Tenet Whistleblower — Ralph Williams will receive a whistleblower award of approximately $84 million from the more than $513 million agreed to be paid by major hospital chain Tenet Healthcare Corporation and two of its Atlanta-area subsidiaries, Atlanta Medical Center Inc. and North Fulton Medical Center Inc., to resolve charges they violated the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback statute through illegal kickbacks it paid in exchange for patient referrals. DOJ

1. Wyeth/Pfizer Whistleblowers — Lauren Kieff, a former hospital sales representative for AstraZeneca, and William St. John LaCorte, a physician practicing in New Orleans, will collectively receive a whistleblower award of roughly $98 million from the $784.6 million Wyeth and Pfizer agreed to pay to resolve allegations that Wyeth violated the False Claims Act by reporting to the government false prices on two of its proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs, Protonix Oral and Protonix IV. It allegedly did so to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in rebates it owed Medicaid. Whistleblower Insider

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