Whistleblower Protection Blog

Whistleblower Protection Blog

Advocating Whistleblower Rights for over Twenty Years

KBR Ordered to Release Documents in Crucial Whistleblower Case

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam

The Legal Times reported Thursday that the judge in the case of United States ex rel. Barko v. Halliburton Co. et al, ordered the release of documents to a whistleblower. The case, which arose under the False Claims Act, concerns the largest military contract ever awarded, coming in at $38 billion. The whistleblower, Mr. Harry Barko, alleges KBR  engaged in widespread fraud during the War in Iraq.

The documents in question were created during KBR’s own internal investigation. They contain direct evidence of bid-rigging, conflicts of interest, and overcharging the U.S. Government by KBR.  In the order, District Court Judge James Gwin stated:

“KBR’s documents are filled with evidence that certain KBR employees steered contracts to Daoud; are filled with evidence that Daoud gave lousy and late contract performance; and are filled with evidence that KBR nevertheless overpaid Daoud with United States funds. Counsel’s duty of candor requires better.”

“Judge Gwin’s orders are intellectually honest and powerful and will have significant consequences for KBR and its counsel,”stated Michael D. Kohn, attorney for Mr. Barko, in regard to this latest order by the court.

Read the full Legal Times article Judge Orders KBR to Disclose Docs to Whistleblower.

Read previous posts about the Barko case.

NWC Joins Amicus in SOX Whistleblower Retaliation Case

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers

Yesterday, the National Whistleblower Center joined other groups in filing an amici curiae brief with the Department of Labor Administrative Review Board (ARB) in Powers v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, ARB Case No. 13-034.  Joining the NWC as amici are the National Employment Lawyers Association, the Truckers Justice Center and Teamsters for a Democratic Union.

The ARB called for amici to file briefs in the Powers case to consider the standard of proof for employees to establish the “contributing factor” test in whistleblower retaliation cases arising under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act  (SOX) and other whistleblower statutes.  The full ARB is considering whether an earlier 2-to-1 ARB panel decision in Fordham v. Fannie Mae, ARB No. 12-061 was correctly decided.  In Fordham, the ARB reversed and vacated an Administrative Law Judge’s recommended decision that had improperly weighed employer defenses in determining whether the employee had demonstrated her whistleblowing was a contributing factor in her termination.   Continue Reading

NWC Reports 2014 Successes in Year End Review

Posted in Whistleblowing Works

ReportCoverIn a review posted today on the National Whistleblower Center website, the whistleblower protection advocacy group thanked it’s supporters and gave a report of the work it accomplished in 2014.

The review thanks the members of the NWC’s Action Alert Network citing the actions taken by the members as resulting in several successful Action Alerts.

The review listed major reports, Congressional testimony, rulemaking comments, and several amicus briefs among its successes.

Also included is the work of the Forensic Justice Project, head by former FBI crime lab whistleblower, Dr. Frederic Whitehurst.

Read the full NWC 2014 Year In Review.

The National Whistleblower Center needs your support to continue its work on behalf of strengthening the rights of whistleblowers.  When you make a donation of $25 or more to support the National Whistleblower Center you will receive a copy of The Whistleblower’s Handbook. If you already have a copy, give a copy to a friend, colleague or your local library. One of the most powerful gifts you can give is knowledge.

The FCA is the Most Effective Law for Protecting Employees from Retaliation

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam

The Chamber of Commerce has commenced a well-financed and aggressive lobbying campaign to undermine America’s most effective whistleblower law, the False Claims Act. To justify its anti-whistleblower campaign the Chamber published a report entitled, “Fixing the False Claims Act: the Case For Compliance-Focused Reforms.” The purpose of this blog series is to combat the Chamber’s misinformation, and explain why the False Claims Act must be protected.

Fact Number 7:

As documented by the ERC and the Booth School studies, corporate culture remains hostile toward whistleblowers. The FCA and other whistleblower reward laws address both the short-term and long-term problems caused by the realistic fear experienced by employees who consider blowing the whistle.  Continue Reading

“Retaliation against Whistleblowers at All-Time High”

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam

The Chamber of Commerce has commenced a well-financed and aggressive lobbying campaign to undermine America’s most effective whistleblower law, the False Claims Act. To justify its anti-whistleblower campaign the Chamber published a report entitled, “Fixing the False Claims Act: the Case For Compliance-Focused Reforms.” The purpose of this blog series is to combat the Chamber’s misinformation, and explain why the False Claims Act must be protected.

Fact Number 6:

ERC Statistics on Retaliation  Continue Reading

Foreign Nationals File Whistleblower Rewards Claims in United States

Posted in Claim SEC Award, Corporate Whistleblowers, International

Major Breakthrough in Worldwide Protection for Whistleblowers

breakthechain

Washington, D.C. December 9, 2014.  Today, as part of the U.N. sponsored International Anti-Corruption Day, the National Whistleblower Center issued a report, The Importance of Whistleblower Rewards in Combating International Corruption, endorsing whistleblower reward laws.  The Center is calling on government’s around the world to enact whistleblower laws and to model these laws on the highly successful U.S. programs.

The report highlights that since 2011 over 1000 whistleblowers from 82 separate countries have already made confidential disclosures to U.S. authorities under the American anti-corruption whistleblower reward laws.  These laws permit foreign nationals to file confidential claims in the United States, including claims based on violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law designed to combat international bribery of government officials.

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NYT: Tattletales Embraced as Whistle-Blower Programs Gain Support

Posted in Corporate Whistleblowers, Tax Whistleblowers
Bradley Birkenfeld

Bradley Birkenfeld, a former UBS banker, was awarded $104 million for bringing information to the IRS about tax evasion strategies at the Swiss bank.

Yesterday The New York Times ran a nice article on the growing support for whistleblower programs as a means to ensure corporate accountability.  Below is an excerpt and a link:

“The embrace of whistle-blowers is not limited to false claims. The I.R.S. has ramped up its program on tax cheats, and awarded one of the biggest whistle-blower payouts of $104 million award in 2012 to Bradley C. Birkenfeld after he disclosed how Swiss banks helped Americans hide assets in secret accounts. His case also illustrates the pitfalls of being a whistle-blower as he served nearly two and a half years in prison for his role in tax evasion schemes.”

Tattletales Embraced as Whistle-Blower Programs Gain Support
By Peter J. Henning, DECEMBER 1, 2014.

Also of interest is this article from 2012:

A Strategy of Tattletales at the I.R.S.
By Victor Fleischer, SEPTEMBER 20, 2012

The False Claims Act and Related Laws “Make Reporting More Likely”

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam

The Chamber of Commerce has commenced a well-financed and aggressive lobbying campaign to undermine America’s most effective whistleblower law, the False Claims Act. To justify its anti-whistleblower campaign the Chamber published a report entitled, “Fixing the False Claims Act: the Case For Compliance-Focused Reforms.” The purpose of this blog series is to combat the Chamber’s misinformation, and explain why the False Claims Act must be protected.

Whistleblowers and their supporters are strongly urged to read this blog series and share it with friends. In addition, an Action Alert has been issued by the National Whistleblower Center so members of the public inform their representatives that the False Claims Act should not be “reformed” as proposed by the Chamber.

Fact Number 5:

The Ethics Resource Center (ERC), in its “National Business Ethics Survey of the U.S. Workforce 2013,” found that whistleblower reward laws, such as the False Claims Act, significantly increased the likelihood that employees would report fraud and misconduct “both internally and externally.”

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November 2014 SEC Whistleblower Award List

Posted in Claim SEC Award, News

The SEC Office of the Whistleblower post Notices of Covered Action where a final judgment or order, by itself or together with other prior judgments or orders in the same action issued after July 21, 2010, results in monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million.Subject to the Final Rules, individuals who voluntarily provided the Commission with original information after July 21, 2010 that led to the successful enforcement of a covered action listed below are eligible to apply for a whistleblower award.Once a Notice of Covered Action is posted, individuals have 90 calendar days to apply for an award.

View the updated list below:  Continue Reading

Action Alert Issued Urging Attorney General to Investigate KBR

Posted in False Claims / Qui Tam, News

Take Action!

The National Whistleblower Center issued the following Action Alert today:

Urge Attorney General Holder to Investigate KBR and Support Whistleblowers!

KBR, Largest Defense Contractor in Iraq About to Score Big Victory Against Whistleblowers

Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) is sitting on documents that contain proof of millions of dollars in government contract fraud. A trial court reviewed these documents and found them to be “eye openers” and ordered their release. KBR filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit seeking to hide the documents. Unfortunately, at that stage of the case the Department of Justice sat silent. The whistleblower was on his own to fight the intense legal arguments filed by KBR, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and numerous other corporate lobby group. In a major setback in the fight against corporate fraud, the Court of Appeals granted KBR’s motion, allowing it to hide direct evidence of contact fraud.

We need your help!

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