Monthly Roundup – January 2014
Here is our look-back at the key whistleblower and fraud developments we have written about over the past month:
Whistleblower of the Year
The votes are in, more than two thousand of them, and animal-rights whistleblower Taylor Radig is Whistleblower Insider’s 2013 Whistleblower of the Year. Read her story and how the voting went here.
Featured Posts and Commentary
The DOJ just released its annual compilation of False Claims Act statistics. Once again, the numbers are sure to raise eyebrows with the DOJ recovering $3.8 billion during FY 2013. It is the fourth consecutive year that the DOJ has recovered in excess of $3 billion….
The Supreme Court ruled the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) does not apply to so-called parens patriae actions. These are lawsuits filed by state attorneys general to recover damages on behalf of their residents for corporate misconduct. The decision, Mississippi v. AU Optronics Corp., is notable because it represents one of the few instances where the ever-increasing rigors of class action treatment have been narrowed, not broadened….
The battle rages on over the constitutionality of the NSA’s bulk collection of phone data disclosed by Edward Snowden. It was only a few weeks ago that DC District Court Judge Richard Leon found in Klayman v. Obama a “substantial likelihood” that the challenged phone surveillance program violates the Fourth Amendment. He could not imagine a more “indiscriminate,” “arbitrary” and “almost-Orwellian” invasion of our privacy. In a decision rendered only eleven days later, however, NY District Court Judge William Pauley III came to the exact opposite conclusion….
Whistleblower Insider recently sat down with Tony Corbo, the senior lobbyist for the food campaign by DC-based public interest group Food & Water Watch, to learn more about the food industry and the issues we all face, but likely do not even know about, every time we choose an apple or a bag of cookies at the supermarket….
So why have no Wall Street executives gone to jail for their role in contributing to the Great Recession? It is a question that just won’t quit. And for good reason. The billion dollar fines keep rolling in from one bank after another. But the titans that run these institutions have not been called to answer for any of their company’s financial misdeeds. One outspoken federal judge in Manhattan, the Honorable Jed Rakoff, speaks his mind on what he thinks is really behind this curious regulatory lapse….
So why can we expect to see so many more Snowdens in our future? The answer lies in how the government is choosing to deal with these kinds of whistleblowers. It seems to think that locking them away for life is the right approach. This, coming from an administration that appreciates the value of whistleblowers, having presided over the largest expansion of whistleblower protections in decades. It just does not consider Snowden the type of whistleblower worth protecting….
Questions of the Week
- Should there be a ban on genetically modified organisms? Votes still coming in.
- Do you think the A-Rod suspension is fair and reasonable? 64 percent of respondents said Yes.
- Do you think UNC has handled its academic fraud scandal appropriately? 98 percent of respondents said No.
- Do you think the FDA is doing its job? 73 percent of respondents said No.
News from the Inside
Included among this month’s top stories: death of “ever-so-gentle rabble-rouser” Pete Seeger (here); DOJ sues KBR for contract fraud in Iraq (here); big banks to stop “payday” loans (here); Obama to end government control of phone data (here); DOJ intervenes in 8 whistleblower cases against Health Management Associates (here); UNC whistleblower reports on academic failings of university’s top athletes (here); 80 retired NYC police and firefighters charged with Social Security fraud (here); and NYT calls for clemency for Snowden (here).
DOJ Fraud Settlements
The DOJ settled False Claims Act allegations with Saint Joseph Health Systems, Tennessee Orthopedic, GE Hitachi, RehabCare Group, Cadillac Asphalt, CareFusion Corp. and Premier Vein Centers for a combined recovery of roughly $100M. All but two of these matters were initiated by whistleblowers under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Click here.