Whistleblower tales offer drama, intrigue, good guys and bad guys.  So, it’s no wonder Hollywood loves them. The web is filled with lists of whistleblower movies. They include classics like “On the Waterfront” and recent films like “The Post.” They range from documentaries to thrillers to based-on-a-true story bio pics.  Now, add a new one to the intelligence whistleblower genre.

This summer look for “Officials Secrets,” a feature film about British intelligence translator Katharine Gun. A dour, dressed-down Keira Knightley walks through a gauntlet of reporters and mics in the promo shot. The film premiered at the Sundance film festival in January.

From the Hollywood Reporter review:

While railing at TV news coverage of Tony Blair’s double-speak concerning his position on the George W. Bush government’s intention to invade Iraq in 2003, British intelligence translator Katharine Gun, played with the requisite impassioned principles by Keira Knightley, fumes, “Just because you’re the prime minister doesn’t mean you get to make up your own facts.” Continue Reading Will one of this summer’s Hollywood blockbusters star a whistleblower?

In the course of her research into fraud and white-collar crime, Kelly Richmond Pope comes across a lot of whistleblower stories.  The DePaul University accountant and business professor said she couldn’t understand why they were treated so poorly. So, she did a TED talk about it. Now she knows even more stories. Pope talked to the Whistleblower Protection Blog in May.  A forensic accountant, she’s has experience in insurance fraud investigations and fraud risk management projects. TR

Kelly Richmond Pope

 Q. What cases are you following?

It seems like there is a new story every day.  Behind every fraud story which is my area of research, there is a whistleblower.  What you may call a whistleblower case, I may call a fraud case If we are hearing about it in the news that means someone somewhere told something. Behind every fraud story there is a whistleblower.

Q. You talked about how whistle blower are looked at as tattle-tales, not as heroes. Do you think people still have that attitude?

Absolutely. I think it is still going on. The whistle blower dilemma is about how we as a society treat these brave people. It is very hard to come up against the system. Right now, we are hearing more about the whistleblowers at Boeing. I would say 95 percent of the world is impacted by the airline industry. So, we want those people to come forward with information. We look at that has having a direct impact on our health and safety. Continue Reading Whistleblowers need support. They aren’t getting it, according to forensic accounting professor

Did local regulators in Estonia and Denmark fail to flag the Danske Bank’s money laundering scheme? Seems EU regulators can’t decide whether it was clearly money laundering or not.

EU bank regulators looked into it and said yes. But their superiors, the European Banking Authority (EBA) board of supervisors, felt the failings did not amount to a breach of EU law. The European Commission, which requested the review, disagrees and plans to pursue the EU investigation into Danske Bank’s scandal.

All this inspired a Bloomberg columnist to write:

Money launderers and financial criminals should — in theory — have good reason to fear the European Union’s army of white-collar cops. The bloc boasts 28 national financial regulators, a euro-zone banking regulator in Frankfurt (the Single Supervisory Mechanism), an EU-wide banking supervisor in London (the European Banking Authority), and a financial markets watchdog in Paris (the European Securities and Markets Authority). It’s a blizzard of three- and four-letter acronyms. 

Whistleblower Howard Wilkinson exposed the Danske bank scandal. He reported suspicious activity at bank’s Estonia branch, where he worked until 2014. Since then, investigators have identified up to $20 billion in fraudulent financial activity. National Whistleblower chair Stephen M. Kohn is Wilkinson’s whistleblower lawyer. Continue Reading Is it money laundering or not? EU can’t decide on Danske case

It’s Time for Facebook to be Sanctioned for Misleading Shareholders and the Public About Terror and Hate Speech on its Website 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) now has all the information it needs to sanction Facebook for its dishonesty about terror and hate content on its website, thanks to a petition filed by a whistleblower working with the National Whistleblower Center (NWC).  Today, the Associated Press published an explosive story describing and confirming the key findings in the petition.  Continue Reading NWC’s Whistleblower Files Petition To Sanction Facebook For Terror and Hate Content

The Swiss bank whistleblower who outed Americans’ secret USB bank accounts says he has information on more wrongdoing. Bradley Birkenfeld, who is described on his website as the “worlds most celebrated whistleblower,”  appeared at an offshore fraud and financial services conference in Miami in April. Birkenfeld was “treated like a celebrity,” reported journalist Brian Ross, who covered the event for Law & Crime Network, a legal website and streaming service.

The National Whistleblower Center supported Mr. Birkenfeld in his case, which involved a $20 billion tax evasion scheme.

Continue Reading Report: Swiss bank whistleblower has more to say, wants a pardon

A former White House security officer has denied he was under pressure from Trump administration superiors to approve security clearances, according to reports of his interview with Congressional investigators earlier this week.

His comments are a response to charges levied by Tricia Newbold, a White House staffer who in March reported security clearance problems to Congress. White House officials overruled security staff and granted clearances to 25 employees, she told the House committee.     

 From The New York Times:

Carl Kline, the former director of the White House’s Personnel Security Office, told the House Oversight and Reform Committee this week that he had overruled the recommendations of his staff and approved security clearances for White House officials on his own authority, and denied that President Trump or anyone else had directed him to do it. Continue Reading Former White House boss denies claims of security clearance whistleblower

Two whistleblower cases unsealed this week reveal how aggressive pharmaceutical marketing programs can cross the line into Medicare fraud and kickbacks. Trips to the Kentucky Derby for doctors and huge bonuses for sales reps can lead to bribes, conflicts of interest and poor-quality care.

Illustration: Tinker ReadyIn one case, a drug maker was competing with a far less expensive, easier-to-administer alternative. Sales reps reportedly told doctors they could shorten a two-to-three week treatment with the Questcor’s expensive anti-seizure drug to one week. However, the Food and Drug Administration had not vetterd the efficacy of the one-week course, according to the case.

US WorldMeds

In the settlement case, the company is charged with secretly covering co-pays for all Medicare patients –not just those in need — thus insulating them from a steep price hike. Good for the patients, whose co-pays could have reached $5,000, DOJ noted; bad for the rest of us, who have to pay the balance. That’s why the approach is considered a kickback.

Continue Reading Whistleblowers call out pharma sales tactics that can add up to Medicare fraud

Four years after the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed take steps to streamline the FBI whistleblower program, the agency has not taken action, according to a program review.

The Government Accountability Office issued recommendations in 2015 to make improvements like shortening the time it takes to process whistleblower complaints.

So far, the agency has not:
  • Clarified regulations
  • Given complainants timeframes for returning decisions
  • Developed an oversight mechanism to ensure compliance with requirements
  • Assessed the impact of efforts to reduce the duration of complaints or requirements

Continue Reading For Federal Bureau of Investigation whistleblowers, recommended changes come slowly

The Department of Justice announced Thursday that two pain management clinics in northern Virginia have agreed to pay approximately $3.3 million to settle Medicare fraud allegation brought by a qui tam whistleblower.

The settlement resolves allegations that National Spine and Pain Centers (NSPC), and Physical Medicine Associates (PMA)  fraudulently billed Medicare and other federal healthcare providers. The programs charged for physician services that were delivered by nurse practitioners. The case also involved the ordering medically unnecessary urine drug tests. The whistleblower was former PMA physician assistant.

The case follows news of whistleblower lawsuits moving forward against a Tennessee-based chain of pain clinics for a similar scheme. Continue Reading Doctors and PA blow the whistle over sham urine tests at pain clinics

A selection of this week’s whistleblower news, including a harrowing tale of a group of war crimes whistleblowers.
NAVY

Some of details of the case against Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, as reported in The New York Times Tuesday, may sound familiar to many whistleblowers.  Here’s what reportedly occurred when Navy SEAL commandos reported their platoon chief had committed atrocities in Iraq.

(I)nstead of launching an investigation that day, the troop commander … warned the seven platoon members that speaking out could cost them and others their careers, according to the report.

 The Times story is based on a confidential Navy criminal investigation report obtained by the paper.

According to the investigation report, the troop commander, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch, said in the meeting that while the SEALs were free to report the killings, the Navy might not look kindly on rank-and-file team members making allegations against a chief. Their careers could be sidetracked, he said, and their elite status revoked; referring to the eagle-and-trident badges worn by SEALs, he said the Navy “will pull your birds.”

Continue Reading Lifesavers or liars? News this week on tech, aviation, and war crimes whistleblowers