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Criminal Proceedings

This archive displays posts tagged as involving criminal law proceedings relevant to whistleblowers. You may also be interested in our pages:

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May 24, 2022

Switzerland-based mining and commodity trading firm Glencore International A.G. and an affiliate have agreed to pay over $1.1 billion in criminal penalties and forfeitures, and will plead guilty to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and conspiracy to engage in commodity price manipulation.  In addition, the companies will pay over $1.186 billion in civil penalties and disgorgement in settlement with the CFTC.  As part of the criminal plea agreement, Glencore admitted that between 2007 and 2018, it corruptly provided more than $100 million in payments and other things of value to intermediaries for the payment of bribes to officials in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Brazil, Venezuela, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  With respect to the commodity price manipulation scheme, the CFTC found that from as early as 2007 through at least 2018, Glencore sought to increase profits from its physical and derivatives oil products trading by manipulating or attempting to manipulate four U.S. based S&P Global Platts physical oil benchmarks and related futures and swaps.  Criminal fines and forfeitures total over $700 million for the FCPA violations and nearly $486 million for the for the market manipulation violations, which amounts are subject to credits for amounts paid to the CFTC and foreign authorities including the United Kingdom.  The $1.186 billion CFTC resolution will also be reduced, with Glencore receiving credit for payments in the criminal resolutions.  DOJ; USAO SDNY; CFTC

May 18, 2022

Pat Truglia will spend 120 months in prison, forfeit over $9.4 million, and will pay restitution of $33.7 million for conspiring to defraud Medicare, TRICARE, and CHAMPVA, among others, of approximately $50 million through their fraudulent billing scheme. The scheme involved offering, paying, soliciting, and receiving kickback for durable medical equipment—in this case, braces. Truglia and his conspirators obtained DME orders for Medicare and other federal healthcare program beneficiaries by running multiple call centers, which paid kickbacks and bribes to telemedicine companies, who then paid doctors to write medically unnecessary orders. The orders were filled by Truglia’s companies, who then fraudulently billed the healthcare programs. USAO NJ

May 18, 2022

Peter Bolos and Michael Palso, owners of Synergy Pharmacy, were sentenced to 14 years and 33 months in prison, respectively, and each will pay $24.6 million in restitution for defrauding pharmacy benefit managers into authorizing millions of dollars in claims paid to pharmacies controlled by the defendants. Bolos will forfeit an additional $2.5 million. The conspiracy involved cold-calling patients and deceiving them into accepting certain drugs (i.e., pain creams, scar creams, and vitamins) and providing their personal insurance information to receive them. The scheme impacted both private and public insurers, including Medicaid and TRICARE. DOJ, USAO EDTN

May 17, 2022

Allianz Global Investors U.S. LLC pleaded guilty to securities fraud and agreed to pay a criminal fine of $2.3 billion, an SEC penalty of $675 million, and over $5 billion in disgorgement and restitution to victims.  Three former AGI senior portfolio managers, Gregoire Tournant, Trevor Taylor, and Stephen Bond-Nelson, also pleaded guilty to related charges and will be sentenced at a later date.  As part of its plea, AGI admitted that between 2014 and 2020, AGI and the individual defendants made false and misleading statements to current and prospective investors in AGI’s Structured Alpha Funds which understated downside risks and overstated the level of independent risk oversight over the funds.  While the funds promised risk management and hedging, the actual investment strategy prioritized returns over risk management, and the promised hedging positions were not purchased.  To conceal losses and understate the magnitude of the actual risks, defendants fraudulently altered numerous financial reports and other information provided to investors.  The scheme was exposed when the funds experienced billions in losses during the 2020 COVID-related market volatility. With its guilty plea, AGI US is disqualified from providing advisory services to U.S.-registered investment funds for the next ten years, and will exit the business of conducting these fund services.  SEC; DOJ; SDNY

Stericycle Pays More than $84 Million to Settle FCPA Charges

Posted  04/26/22
Man Shaking Hand
Last Wednesday, Illinois-based waste management company Stericycle Inc. agreed to pay more than $84 million to settle foreign bribery charges brought in parallel by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and authorities in Brazil. The charges centered around payments Stericycle made to foreign officials in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina to secure government contracts in those...

April 20, 2022

Waste management company Stericycle Inc. agreed to pay a total of $84 million and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement admitting to the payment of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina in order to obtain and retain business and to secure improper advantages in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  The company’s foreign subsidiaries maintained false records to conceal the bribes, which were typically paid in cash and recorded on spreadsheets using code words and euphemisms, including describing the payments made in Argentina as “alfajores.”  Stericycle’s total payment consists of a $28 million payment to resolve an investigation by the SEC, a $52.5 million criminal penalty, and $9.3 million to resolve investigations by the Controladoria-Geral da União (CGU) and the Advocacia-Geral de União (Attorney General’s Office) in Brazil, part of which will be credited to reduce the criminal penalty.  DOJ; SEC

April 12, 2022

Aaron Aqueron of Florida has been sentenced to 4 years in prison and ordered to pay $5.9 million in restitution to the IRS for promoting a nationwide scheme that caused more than $7.6 million in fraudulent tax refund claims to be filed.  The scheme involved convincing more than 200 participants in at least 19 states that they were entitled to tax refunds due to debt, then using the participants’ financial information to prepare tax returns with false information.  Two other co-conspirators, Iran Backstrom and Mehef Bey, were sentenced to more than 8 years and 11 years in prison respectively.  USAO MDFL

March 30, 2022

Multiple sales representatives of Delaware-based pharmacy, Heritage Therapeutics, LLC have been ordered to forfeit and/or pay fines totaling over $8.7 million after they were found to have paid kickbacks to physicians in exchange for prescribing expensive compounded medications to TRICARE beneficiaries.  Additionally, Heritage and various executives have entered into a settlement agreement to resolve claims under the Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act.  USAO EDPA

February 18, 2022

Muhammad Ateeq, of Rawalpindi, Pakistan, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $50 million in restitution for forfeiture for submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare for home health services. Ateeq acquired and managed home health agencies in the United States, using false identities. He then used these home health agencies to submit fraudulent Medicare claims totaling over $40 million for services not rendered. The ill-gotten gains were laundered through U.S. bank accounts designated by overseas customers of overseas money transmitting businesses. Cash payments were then transmitted to accounts in Pakistan which Ateeq controlled. Fraud proceeds were also used to purchase luxury items which were delivered to Ateeq’s Dubai associates. DOJ

February 14, 2022

Zachary Joseph Horwitz, 35, of Los Angeles, CA will spend 20 years in federal prison and was ordered to pay over $230 million in restitution. Horwitz raised $650 million from over 250 investors in his Ponzi scheme—investors who were lied to about future licensing and distribution agreements with online platforms such as Netflix and HBO. Horwitz operated his Ponzi scheme via 1inMM Capital, duping five major groups of private investors through hundreds of 6- and 12-month promissory notes, which he defaulted on. Horwitz initiated the scheme in 2014, and it remained active until his arrest by the FBI in April 2021. USAO CDCA
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