Allied Home Mortgage, and several other Allied companies, are facing a judgment over fraudulent conduct while participating in the FHA program. In a trial last November, a jury in Houston found that the companies and their CEO violated both the FCA and FIRREA, causing over $92M in single damages to the government. Now a judgment has been ordered by the court which trebled the verdict and imposed over $13M of additional statutory penalties under both the FCA and FIRREA. Allied’s CEO, Jim Hodge, was ordered to pay $25M in his personal capacity. 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.
New detail emerges on Uber’s FCPA probe — Since news of the probe first broke in August, Uber has informed the DOJ of suspicious payments made in Indonesia over the location of an office in Jakarta. The DOJ is focused on activity in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea where there are potentially dozens of unlawful payments to various government agencies. Bloomberg
Former California utility regulator employee files suit over whistleblower retaliation — Karen Clopton, he former chief ALJ at the California Public Utilities Commission, claims that she was fired for investigating collusion between regulators and PG&E executives. Clopton’s allegations stem form a PG&E pipeline explosion in 2010. Clopton claims she objected to the appointment of an ALJ with ties to PG&E and asked commissioner to not interfere with the assignment of judges. Clopton has filed a complaint with the California State Personnel Board. Power Engineering Magazine
Wisconsin businessman indicted in $9M green energy fraud — Wisconsin businessman Ronald Van Den Heuvel was indicted on charges he fraudulently obtained more than $9M in loans and investments, including from Wisconsin taxpayers and Chinese E-B investors, for his “Green Box” business plan, through which he claimed he could completely transform post-consumer waste into usable consumer products and energy; Van Den Heuvel spent investors’ money on a Cadillac Escalade, Green Bay Packers tickets, and court-ordered payments to his ex-wife. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Political uncertainty in the United States has not diminished Warren Buffet’s optimistic view of the country’s long term economic prospects. At a recent event celebrating Forbes’ 100th anniversary, Buffet proclaimed, “whenever I hear people talk pessimistically about this country, I think they’re out of their mind.” Buffet went on to say that he expects the Dow Jones Industrial Average to be “over 1 million” in 100 years. Buffet is certainly no stranger to bold economic predictions, last year he stated, “if the government absolutely said interest rates are going to be zero for 50 years, the Dow would be at 100,000.” To put these predictions into perspective, the Dow Jones surpassed 20,000 for the first time earlier this year. click here for more
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice announced that it had reached a $2.5 million settlement with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) over allegations that it violated the False Claims Act in its administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as the Food Stamp Program. Through SNAP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides financial assistance to low-income individuals and families to purchase nutritious foods. click here for more
–“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
Whistleblower Alleges that Tesla and Other Automakers Illegally Used Foreign Workers to Build U.S. Plants — A recently unsealed whistleblower suit alleges that several major automakers, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Volkswagen, illegally employed foreign construction workers to build their American factories. The allegations broaden earlier claims of immigration fraud levied against Tesla. Mercury News
Whistleblower Says Red Cross “Not Ready” for Major Storm on Long Island — A source inside the Greater New York Region Red Cross has informed a local news outlet that the organization is unprepared to handle mass sheltering if a major storm hits Long Island. The unidentified whistleblower asserts that hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency supplies have been ruined after being stored in leaky storage containers. WABC-TV
Whistleblower Accuses Upstate New York Medical Office of Breaking Opioid Medication Rules — A former employee has filed a federal lawsuit against Upstate Physician Services, a medical practice providing primary care and addiction treatment to patients in the Albany area. The lawsuit alleges that Upstate’s non-physician staff harassed patients via social media to purchase prescribed medications from them, prescribed Suboxone without the requisite authority, and stole prescription pads to write their own illegal prescriptions. Times Union
Hurricane Maria slammed into the Caribbean island of Dominica as a Category 5 storm with “merciless” 160 mph winds Monday night, and the storm, deemed “potentially catastrophic” by the National Hurricane Center, is now headed for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Maria is expected to move over the northeastern Caribbean Sea today and is forecast to “remain an extremely dangerous category 4 or 5 hurricane” as it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. A hurricane warning is in effect Tuesday for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, the US and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques. click here for more
— “The importation of illegally harvested wood and timber products harms law-abiding American companies and workers and threatens forest resources around the world.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood commenting on Young Living Essential Oils pleading guilty to federal misdemeanor charges.
President Trump calls for whistleblower protections as part of UN reforms – President Donald Trump, in his first official remarks at the United Nations, said Monday that the United Nations must take steps to “protect whistleblowers.” The President’s call for protecting UN officials who speak up about internal wrongdoing came as he spoke about what he sees as the international body’s failures and the needed reforms that could “make the United Nations great.” CNN
Uber is suing an ad agency for click fraud – Uber filed a click-fraud lawsuit Monday that could have big implications for the world of digital advertising. The app-based taxi company is suing Fetch Media over allegations that the advertising agency billed Uber for fraudulent ads. Uber is seeking at least $40 million in damages, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the lawsuit. Business Insider
Essential Oils Company Sentenced for Lacey Act and Endangered Species Act Violations to Pay $760,000 – The Justice Department announced that Young Living Essential Oils, headquartered in Lehi, Utah, pleaded guilty in federal court to federal misdemeanor charges regarding its illegal trafficking of rosewood oil and spikenard oil in violation of the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act. The conditions include the implementation of a corporate compliance plan, audits, and the publication of statements regarding its convictions. DOJ
An article in the New York Times describes the role health insurers may be playing in perpetuating the opioid crisis in the United States. The argument is that health insurers are limiting access to pain medications that have a lower risk of dependency. The reason is that opioid drugs are generally cheaper and less risky alternatives are more expensive. The New York State Attorney General sent letters to CVS, Express Scripts, and OptumRx, the country’s three largest pharmacy benefit managers, to ask how each was addressing the opioid crisis. click here for more