Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center (NWC), travelled to Kenya to teach a workshop on wildlife whistleblowing. The event was hosted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
In late 2017, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (considered one of America’s most important judicial districts) settled a case against Notations, a garment wholesaler. In a case originally brought by a qui tam relator (a.k.a. a whistleblower), Notations admitted to ignoring repeated warning signs that its Chinese importer was lying about the value of its imported goods to avoid paying customs fees. As a result, Notations has agreed to pay $1 million in fees.
(This article was published on January 8, 2018 in the Baltimore Sun.)
The Golden Globe Awards this Sunday put the #MeToo movement in the spotlight. Many actresses wore black to express to solidarity, and a number of them brought important activists as their dates. Millions were raised for a legal defense fund to help women fight sexual harassment and abuse. Continue Reading For #MeToo Moment to Last, Strengthen Whistleblower Protections
Last week, the Department of Justice announced that it collected $3.7 billion in settlements and judgements from False Claim Act (FCA) cases against the government in 2017. The FCA is a statute that allows individual whistleblowers, called relators in this context, to file lawsuits on behalf of the government.
Known as Lincoln’s Law, the FCA was originally passed in the Civil War when avaricious contractors supplied the Union with faulty weapons and failing supplies. Over the last decade, FCA cases filed have grown in number and become one of the government’s premier tools for policing corporate fraud.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has appointed Julian Schmoke, to head the agency’s Student Aid Enforcement Unit, the unit tasked with investigating fraud at for-profit colleges. Mr. Schmoke previously served as a dean at DeVry University, a for-profit school that was sanctioned $100 million by the U.S. government for fraudulent practices. Take action: add your name to the NWC letter calling for the appointment to be withdrawn! Continue Reading DeVos Pick Puts Veterans and Whistleblowers at Risk at For-Profit Colleges
Last month a U.S. District Court extended federal False Claims Act liability to bonding companies who have reason to know that they bonded construction firms who falsified their Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) status. Continue Reading Holding Bonding Companies Liable when a Construction Firm Falsifies its Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Status
Last year, Steve Kohn informed the world about dormant whistleblower provisions in wildlife protection laws that, if activated, would effectively combat wildlife trafficking. While several branches of the U.S. government have committed to addressing trafficking activities that have pushed many iconic species such as tigers and elephants to the brink of extinction, federal agencies have yet to use all the tools available to them in this fight.
Senator Sessions: “It’s not acceptable to retaliate against a whistleblower.”
Washington, D.C. January 12, 2017. The U.S. Department of Justice manages many of America’s most important whistleblower programs, including the False Claims Act (“FCA”) anti-fraud law. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing of of President-Elect Trump’s nominee for Attorney General began on Tuesday. Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Committee and long-time advocate of whistleblower rights, asked Sen. Jeff Sessions to confirm, on the record, his commitment to encouraging whistleblowers to step forward and to aggressively pursue fraud cases under the FCA.
Continue Reading Trump’s Nominee for Attorney General Voices Support for Major Anti-Fraud Program
December 15, 2016. On Wednesday, December 14th, The U.S. Justice Department announced that it recovered over $4.7 billion from False Claims Act (FCA) cases in 2016. Of those recoveries, $2.9 billion were recovered through cases initiated by whistleblowers. The Justice Department paid more than $519 million in whistleblower awards over the course of the year. This represents the continuation of a long trend of successful cooperation between whistleblowers and the Justice Department, and demonstrates the enormous success an effective whistleblower program can generate.
Washington, D.C. December 6, 2016. An attempt by large government contractors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to undermine the False Claims Act (FCA) was beaten back by whistleblower advocates. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision today in the case of State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby ruling that breaches to the confidentiality (or seal) provision of a case brought under the FCA will not result in an automatic dismissal of the case. Continue Reading Huge Win for Whistleblowers with Unanimous Supreme Court Decision