April 30, 2018

British Whistleblowers can Make ‘Millions’ under US Laws if they ‘Shop’ UK Companies, American Lawyers Say

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

The Telegraph reported this weekend on Andrew Patrick, the first British whistleblower to expose a UK company for evading U.S. import duties and only the second British whistleblower to receive an award under the False Claims Act. Mr. Patrick brought a qui tam lawsuit in 2016 against Pure Collection Ltd (“Pure”). The U.S. government intervened in the lawsuit and it ultimately resulted in a settlement of over $900,000. Mr. Patrick was represented by Constantine Cannon and the Telegraph spoke with Constantine Cannon attorney Mary Inman who is leading the effort with Constantine Cannon’s London office to attract international whistleblowers.

Ms. Inman, who has been representing whistleblowers for over twenty years, told the Telegraph, “People don’t realise that you don’t have to be an American to use the American whistleblower programme.” She further added “I have been approached by close to 30 whistleblowers here in just 10 months. Of those, we have filed five cases that are going to the US to be filed.” She identifies London as a key hub of the financial and service industries where whistleblowers for UK companies can expose fraudulent business practices that are cheating the U.S. government out of funds.

Mr. Patrick worked for Pure from 2010 to 2014 and in his lawsuit claimed that he was trained to “split” large orders shipping to the United States to avoid import duties. During that time period, half of Pure’s annual sales were to U.S. customers. Mr. Patrick decided to bring the wrongdoing to light after the company began treating him poorly and contacted Constantine Cannon. After the case reached a settlement in February, Mr. Patrick received more than 60,000 pounds sterling. He commented that “[i]t has given me a sense of satisfaction, I have to say. If I had liked the company I wouldn’t have done it.”

For its part, Pure declined to comment for the Telegraph story and the February settlement did not include an admission of liability. Mr. Patrick told the Telegraph that he intends to use his award to fund repairs to his Harley Davidson motorcycle and prepare a tour around Europe and Africa.

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