False Claims-Qui Tam News

When does the statute of limitations clock start running in a False Claims Act (FCA) case when the government declines to intervene in a whistleblower case?  That is the question the Supreme Court will consider when it takes up Cochise Consultancy, Inc. v. United States.

The National Whistleblower Center filed an amicus curiae brief in the case this week.

At issue: Must an FCA plaintiff rely on the statute of limitations in a suit in which the United States declines to intervene?  If so, does the three-year limitations period begins to run from the date of the whistleblower’s knowledge of the alleged false claim, or from the date of the government official’s knowledge of the alleged false claim?

The brief, written by NWC executive director Stephen M. Kohn, notes that his organization takes the position that the “merits of a claim often bear no relation to the duration of a case.” Continue Reading Brief: Supreme Court needs to uphold False Claims Act statute of limitations as “clearly set forth in the law.”

Some might see whistleblowers as lucky lottery winners when their multimillion-dollar rewards come through. But, the title of the piece in the February 4 issue of The New Yorker reflects the other side of the story: “The Personal Toll of Whistleblowing”

“Whistleblowers are usually, but not always, employees or members of the group on which they’re blowing the whistle; after they do so, their lives are never the same,” writes Sheelah Kolhatkar. She joined The New Yorker in 2016 after a writing about Wall Street and financial crime for Bloomberg Businessweek.

“Institutional denial, obfuscation, and retaliation are hallmarks of many whistle-blowing cases,” she writes.

new york whistleblower artKolhatkar runs through a list of notable whistleblowers, including  New York City police officer Frank Serpico,  tobacco company whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand; Sherron Watkins of Enron; and National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.  That they were all portrayed in Hollywood films is no surprise. Whistleblower tales are often David versus Goliath dramas.

Continue Reading A New Yorker story makes the case: Whistleblowers need protection against retaliation

William Barr Attorney General nominee William Barr this morning committed to “diligently uphold” the False Claims Act during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination.

Under questioning from Sen. Chuck Grassley, Barr said the constitutionality of the law has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Grassley asked: “If confirmed do you commit to not take action to undermine the False Claims Act? Further if confirmed will you continue Justice department staff and funding levels to to properly pursue and and prosecute cases under the FCA?”

Barr: “Yes, I will diligently enforce the False Claims Act.”

Continue Reading Attorney General nominee Barr commits to “diligently uphold” the False Claims Act

While serving as Assistant Attorney General under the first President Bush, William Barr took aim at the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act.

Whistleblower Lawyer Stephen M. Kohn
      Stephen Kohn

Now President Donald Trump’s Attorney General nominee, Barr stood alone among top Justice Department officials in vehemently opposing” the provisions,  Stephen M. Kohn, a partner in the firm Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto writes in the January 13 issue of The Hill.

“Although his arguments against the False Claims Act have long been discredited, his underlying reasoning reveal a deep-seated animus against whistleblowers,” Kohn writes.

The National Whistleblower Center has issued an “Action Alert,” calling on supporters to contact members of the Senate and urge them to Question Barr on his prior anti-whistleblower positions :

Continue Reading The Hill: AG nominee must clarify past comments on False Claims Act whistleblower provisions

Is the False Claims Act an “abomination”? Are whistleblowers “bounty hunters”? That’s what Attorney General nominee William Barr said during in a 2001 interview conducted at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. Now, a group of advocates, academics and attorneys has asked U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to find out if Barr still feels that way after 18 years.

Committee hearings on Barr’s nomination begin on January 15. Continue Reading Does Attorney General nominee William Barr still think the False Claims Act is unconstitutional? Sen. Grassley needs to find out.

Despite Slowdown in Prosecution, Whistleblowers Continue to Play the Critical Role in Detecting Fraud. In statistics published this week by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. government’s recoveries under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) hit their lowest mark since 2008, the last year of President Bush’s administration.   Continue Reading DOJ False Claims Act Recoveries Hit Ten Year Low

Frederic-Whistehurst-FBI-whistleblowerIn a new Trailblazers podcast episode titled Forensics: Who’s on the case, Walter Isaacson delves deep into the history of forensic fraud cases. The show details three stories of victims wrongly accused by criminal investigators and faulty forensic practices. What does history teach us about the validity of forensic technology?

Continue Reading Finding Fault In Forensic Fraud Cases

Alex-Sasha-Chepurko-whistleblower-interview
Whistleblower on CBS show

On Friday, August 31, CBS News will air a segment featuring biofuels fraud whistleblower, Alex “Sasha” Chepurko on the season finale of Whistleblower.  The episode, Case of “THE 100 Million Dollar Scam”, details Chepurko’s incredible story of blowing the whistle on a nationwide biofuels scam. Continue Reading CBS News Special Features Biofuels Fraud Whistleblower

Dr. Aaron Westrick, Second Chance Body Armor whistleblower gives speech on National Whistleblower Day.Tonight, CBS News will air a special one hour broadcast on Dr. Aaron Westrick, the whistleblower who exposed unsafe bullet proof vests sold to hundreds of local police departments, the U.S. military and Secret Service.  The show, Whistleblower, will highlight Dr. Westrick’s 14-year qui tam lawsuit against the manufacturers of faulty bulletproof vests made with the fabric Zylon. Westrick was represented by qui tam attorney Stephen M. Kohn founding partner in Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, a law firm which primarily litigates qui tam actions. Kohn also serves as the pro bono Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center. Continue Reading CBS News Special Will Feature Bullet Proof Vest Qui Tam Lawsuit

medical-stethoscope-blue-pen-paper-medicare-fraudIn a recent interview with the AARP, Attorney General Sessions took a strong stance against Medicare fraud and empowering Medicare whistleblowers. Sessions stated that it’s time to consider taking Medicare fraud as seriously as the war on drugs (certainly an issue Attorney General Sessions believes to be of paramount importance).

Medicare fraud is a serious issue. It is estimated that 10% of Medicare funds are lost to fraud and waste, totaling approximately $16.2 billion. This suggests that billions of dollars, which should be directed to funding health care for our seniors, are instead going to fraudsters taking advantage of American taxpayers and the elderly.

Continue Reading Whistleblowers Vital to Eliminating Medicare Fraud