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Shining a Light on Fraud in the Energy Industry

Posted  10/1/21
This week brought not one but two newly announced False Claims Act (FCA) settlements with companies in the energy sector: (1) An Oklahoma-based energy company settled claims it underpaid royalties for natural resources, and (2) a utility company in New York settled claims it falsified reports to a local power authority to cover up mismanagement and wasted State electricity. The two settlements illustrate federal and...

Top Ten Environmental Fraud Settlements for 2020

Posted  03/12/21
Clear Light Buld Placed Over a Plant
In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic uprooted our routines and put life on pause in 2020. But environmental fraud continued unabated, and so did enforcement actions against the perpetrators. We saw two major enforcement actions relating to devices designed to evade emissions requirements, several enforcement actions relating to water contamination and the knowing sale of products containing harmful pollutants, and...

The False Claims Act: It Benefits More than Just the Government

Posted  03/5/21
statue of Abraham Lincoln
The False Claims Act, a Civil War-era law, encourages private individuals, such as whistleblowers, to come forward and file suit against unscrupulous government contractors, and share in the government's recovery. The passage of the law was inspired by contractors selling the Union Army bags of sand as flour, lame mules as cavalry horses, and glued-together rags as uniforms. The main purpose of the law is, of...

Catches of the Week: Contractors Abroad Face Liability for Fraud in U.S. Government Contracts

Posted  02/19/21
fleet of navy ships
This week, we double up on the Catch of the Week, and highlight two actions involving foreign contractors doing business with the U.S. Navy.

French Concrete Contractor Pays $14.5 Million to Resolve Claims of Delivering Substandard Concrete for U.S. Navy Bases in Africa

In the first case, Colas Djibouti, a subsidiary of French contractor Colas, agreed to pay $12.5m to the U.S. government to settle criminal charges,...

A horrifying cancer cluster story emphasizes the need for more environmental whistleblowers

Posted  10/8/20
a waste barrel zoomed-in of a sticker saying "HAZARDOUS WASTE"
Mother Jones recently published a harrowing account of a scientific mystery—why did a number of otherwise healthy young women develop a rare eye cancer in the Lake Norman region of North Carolina?  Through a detailed and nuanced portrait of the women, their families, and a regional fight for justice and accountability, the story’s author, Arielle Emmett, makes clear that no government regulator, independent body,...

Natural Disasters Expose the Unnatural Ones Too

Posted  08/28/20
climate change image of world
As the Gulf coast digs out from Hurricane Laura, one particular industry’s history of avoiding government oversight and obligations is going to make recovery a lot worse and much more dangerous.  The stretch of land on either side of the Texas-Louisiana border is full of petrochemical companies large and small.  These companies have successfully lobbied for relief from regulation, all the while taking significant...

Another “Magic Pipe” Down the Drain: Whistleblower Tips Lead to Guilty Plea in Ocean Dumping Case

Posted  03/19/20
M/T Zao Galaxy from DOJ files
Whistleblowers and an alert Coast Guard examiner exposed the illegal ocean-dumping of unfiltered bilge water by Singapore shipping company Unix Line PTE. The company pleaded guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) after a conscientious crew member slipped a note reading “magic pipe” and “damage marine environment” to the  examiner inspecting the ship M/T Zao Galaxy.  Another crew...

Top Ten Environmental Fraud Settlements of 2019

Posted  01/17/20
image of trees
Between Greta Thunberg's "Climate Strike" mass protests, the on-going saga over the Dakota Access Pipeline, the hoopla over plant-based diets, and record temperatures and ice melts – the environment was on everyone's mind in 2019.  Whistleblowers can be eligible for financial rewards for reporting environmental violations in a number of different ways, and our review below features many recoveries – including...

Question of the Week: How Badly do you Want to Stop Animal Trafficking?

Posted  01/17/20
image of endangered-species
Last week, the Department of Justice indicted a New York man, Christopher Casacci, for illegally importing and selling dozens of African wild cats.  Doing business as “ExoticCubs.com,” Casacci brought into the United States and sold dozens of caracals (Caracal caracal) and servals (Leptailurus serval). Caracals, known as the “desert lynx,” are wild cats native to Africa, and grow to approximately 45 pounds....

Blowing the Whistle on Environmental Abuse: Investigation of Kanto Kosan for Wastewater Dumping at Naval Bases in Japan

Posted  12/6/19
fleet of navy ships
Earlier this week, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Navy’s law enforcement arm, announced that it was investigating contractor Kanto Kosan for allegedly dumping wastewater from warships at harbors in Navy bases in Japan. The investigation was triggered by a tip submitted to Japanese Customs. The FBI and Department of Justice have also joined the investigation. According to the Wall Street...
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