February 8, 2017

Washington Attorney Charged After Attempting to Sell Sealed FCA Suit

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

A lawyer was arrested January 31 in the lobby of a California hotel where he was trying to collect over $300k for selling a copy of a sealed FCA complaint. The complaint, brought by a whistleblower on behalf of the U.S. government, was under seal to allow the government time to investigate before notifying the company that a lawsuit had been filed against it. The Washington attorney, who wore a wig and used a fake name, thought he was selling the complaint to an employee of the defendant company. He was instead met by an FBI agent.

At the time of his arrest, the attorney was a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where he had worked since April 2016. Prior to joining Akin Gump, he had been a trial attorney at the Justice Department, where he represented the United States in investigating and prosecuting fraud, including FCA actions. According to Bloomberg, it isn’t clear how he obtained the sealed FCA complaint he was attempting to sell.

After appearing in San Francisco federal court on February 1, the attorney was released on bail. He faces charges for contempt of court and obstruction of justice.

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