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COVID Frauds of the Week: PPP, PPE, and More

Posted  05/29/20
discarded mask and glove on ground
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to batter businesses and everyday Americans, it has been one of the busiest weeks yet for the government agencies stopping fraudsters who target government relief programs.  In new cases filed this week, the government has gone after alleged bogus sales and price gouging of PPE, new frauds on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), healthcare fraud, and more.

Secret Service Busts...

COVID Frauds of the Week: More Fraud on the PPP

Posted  05/22/20
accountant
As we enter our third month of nation-wide shelter-in-place efforts, fraudsters continue to exploit government relief programs. For the second week in a row, the Eastern District of Texas DOJ is going after a purported small business owner for defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Samuel Yates has been charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements for allegedly submitting fraudulent loan...

De Vos’s Education Department Quietly Granted For-Profit Mogul's Colleges Non-Profit Status, Reversing Obama Administration’s Decision

Posted  05/4/20
grad cap on hundred dollar bills
In the wake of scandals surrounding the for-profit college model, some institutions—and their executives—have sought to transition to non-profits.  These conversions pose the concrete risk that taxpayers will be left subsidizing institutions trying to skirt federal regulations meant to protect students.  As a result, the Obama Administration scrutinized them carefully, particularly where the rebranded non-profit...

The COVID-19 Crisis, Whistleblowers, and the Constantine Cannon Whistleblower Team

Posted  03/19/20
Soapy hands under running water faucet
As Constantine Cannon announced earlier this week, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we have implemented contingency plans to work remotely.  While our work locations have changed, we remain dedicated to our whistleblower clients, and our team continues to provide whistleblowers with support and legal guidance. With offices in New York, D.C., San Francisco, and London, the Constantine Cannon...

Catch of the Week – Hybrid Tech pays $29 Million to Resolve Claims of Collusive Bidding on Sale of Energy Department Loan in Case Brought by Creditors

Posted  02/6/20
Gavel close-up
Our Catch of the Week arises out of misconduct in a corporate restructuring, features a unique whistleblower, and resulted in a $29 million recovery by the government. The defendants, Hybrid Tech Holdings, LLC and related entities, were alleged to have rigged bids in a government auction of a loan made to Fisker Automotive under the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan...

Top Ten Non-Healthcare False Claims Act Recoveries of 2019

Posted  01/10/20
False Claims Act
This year, federal and state governments recovered hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to whistleblowers who came forward to report fraud under the federal False Claims Act and state False Claims Acts.  Whistleblowers reported a wide-range of misconduct involving government contracts, including fraud by defense contractors, airlines, and even a major research university.  Defendants’ deception ran the gamut...

How to Report Visa Fraud for a Whistleblower Reward

Posted  09/25/19
report visa fraud
A settlement with India-based management consulting firm Mu Sigma shows how whistleblowers can make a difference in visa enforcement. In September, 2019, Mu Sigma agreed to pay the U.S. $2.5 million to settle claims that it evaded H-1B visa requirements and brought employees to the U.S. on B1 visitor visas, misrepresenting the nature of their intended employment. In announcing the settlement, Immigration and Customs...

Whistleblower Suit Revived by Third Circuit Despite Settlement in Related State Court Action

Posted  08/13/19
Judge's bench with empty chair and gavel
In United States ex rel. Jean Charte v. American Tutor, Inc., the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed dismissal of a whistleblower’s qui tam action under the False Claims Act, giving the whistleblower the right to pursue her claims. The district court had dismissed the action under state law res judicata principals, because the relator had settled a defamation action brought in state court against her by...

How Businesses Can Use Whistleblower Reward Laws to Stop Unfair Competition

Posted  07/22/19
Runner in track race starting before other racers
Most anyone can be a whistleblower. The role is not limited to the corporate insider or company employee at the meeting, on the conference call or in receipt of the email or text message where the “smoking-gun” evidence of fraud or misconduct is disclosed. Whistleblowers can be any person, or an entity, with non-public information about fraudulent conduct giving rise to a whistleblower claim.  Often, businesses...

Whistleblowers Needed to Stop Secret Kickbacks, Bribes, Overcharging, and False Costs in E-Rate, Lifeline, Connect America, and Rural Healthcare programs

Posted  06/7/19
Large broadband cable bales awaiting installation on rural road.
The FCC disburses billions of dollars every year for its massive Universal Service Fund (USF) and its laudable mission to promote telephone and internet access to all U.S. persons regardless of income and location. This massive pot of government money attracts a commensurate measure of opportunists seeking to defraud these well-meaning programs.

What is the Universal Service Fund?

The Universal Service Fund...
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