Former presidential adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman released her new tell-all book “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House” this week. A TIME magazine article discusses Ms. Manigault Newman’s revelations that she secretly recorded conversations with White House personnel including President Trump and his Chief of Staff John Kelly. In a recent interview on NBC’s “Today”, Ms. Manigault Newman indicated that “[t]here’s a lot of very corrupt things happening in the White House and I am going to blow the whistle on a lot of them.” click here for more
Whistleblower Insider is written by the Constantine Cannon law firm team of experienced qui tam and whistleblower lawyers. It is updated daily to provide the latest whistleblower and fraud news and developments.
On August 8, 2018, AstraZeneca agreed to pay $110 million to the state of Texas to settle allegations that it promoted two of its drugs without FDA approval resulting in health risks to children, adolescents, and other state hospital patients. This case was brought by two whistleblowers under the qui tam provisions of Texas’s Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act. The whistleblowers, two former AstraZeneca employees, among them a sales representative, first reported the nationwide scheme eight years ago after several New York patients died taking Seroquel, a powerful antipsychotic medication, along with methadone. The whistleblowers claimed that the pharmaceutical giant aggressively marketed the drug to methadone clinics despite knowing about the dangers of the drug combination. Seroquel was also the subject of a prior federal lawsuit that culminated in a $520 million settlement and “corporate integrity agreement” in 2010. The agreement prohibited AstraZeneca from paying illegal kickbacks to providers to promote the antipsychotic in children without FDA approval. click here for more
This week, Pro Publica released a new investigation into three powerful but little known figures shaping how veterans receive care. Ike Perlmutter, the chairman of Marvel Entertainment, Marc Sherman, an attorney, and Bruce Moskowitz, a doctor, are long-time members of Mar-a-Lago. None of them are U.S. veterans, and none have government experience. Yet the three of them are apparently directing how care for millions of veterans should be administered. click here for more
Prime Healthcare, a nationwide healthcare provider that operates 45 hospitals and employs over 40,000 people, has settled allegations that 14 of its California hospitals improperly billed Medicare for admitting patients who only required outpatient error, and billed Medicare for treating more severe diagnoses than patients actually had. The company will pay just under $62M to settle these claims, and Prime’s CEO, Prim Reddy, will personally pay over $3M. click here for more
In a decision handed down Tuesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that only individuals, not companies, have standing to bring a whistleblower action under the State’s False Claims Act. The decision in Phone Recovery Services, LLC. v. Verizon of New England, Inc. is groundbreaking in its limitation of who qualifies as a whistleblower. At the same time, it likely is quite limited in its reach as it is premised entirely on a statutory aberration unique to the Massachusetts Act. click here for more
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently announced multiple whistleblower awards totaling more than $45 million. Christopher Ehrman, Director of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Office, stated that “the sheer magnitude of the $45 million in monetary awards announced  demonstrates the game-changing nature of the Whistleblower Program.” CFTC Chairman, J. Christopher Giancarlo, added “the CFTC is committed to creating a level playing field for all market participants, and the Whistleblower Program is helping us achieve this goal. I hope that [these]awards encourage anyone with knowledge of violations of the Commodity Exchange Act to come forward and become a whistleblower.” click here for more
Elon Musk is in the news again. This time, the Tesla CEO, who is known to fiercely defend his companies and himself, has engaged in a public dispute with a former employee who told the Washington Post he saw “some really scary things” during his time at Tesla’s “Gigafactory” battery plant in Nevada. Among other things, the employee, Martin Tripp, claims that Tesla installed dangerously punctured batteries into cars.
In June, Musk sent an email to all company employees claiming there was “a Tesla employee who had conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage” to the company by “exporting large amounts of highly sensitive Tesla data to unknown third parties.” A few days later, the company sued Tripp, claiming he stole confidential images and video of Tesla manufacturing systems and provided false information about Tesla to journalists. Tripp subsequently admitted to providing materials to Business Insider for a story on waste at the Gigafactory. click here for more
This week’s Department of Justice “Catch of the Week” goes to William Beaumont Hospital, a regional hospital system based in the Detroit area. On Thursday, the company agreed to pay $84.5 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act of improper relationships with eight referring physicians, resulting in the submission of false claims to the Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE programs. click here for more
Constantine Cannon is proud to have partnered with AARP Foundation to represent AARP, AARP Foundation, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging, the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, and the National Health Law Program, as amici curiae in the whistleblower-initiated case of United States ex rel. Angela Ruckh v. Salus Rehabilitation, currently on appeal before the 11th Circuit. The appeal presents an important opportunity for the Court of Appeals to ensure that the FCA continues to be a vital and effective tool to ensure quality care in nursing facilities. click here for more
On July 23, 2018, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, signed into law anti-fraud legislation that includes provisions modeled after the federal False Claims Act. The Puerto Rico law, called the Fraudulent Claims to Programs, Contracts, and Services of the Government of Puerto Rico Act, has features critical to effective false claims acts: click here for more