In a recent interview with the AARP, Attorney General Sessions took a strong stance against Medicare fraud. 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

Attorney General Sessions Condemns Companies That Sell Defective Equipment to First Responders

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release late today announcing a settlement in a 13-year long False Claims Act case. Toyobo Co. Ltd. of Japan and its American subsidiary, Toyobo U.S.A. Inc., f/k/a Toyobo America Inc. (collectively, Toyobo), have agreed to pay $66 million to resolve claims under the False Claims Act that they sold defective Zylon fiber used in bullet proof vests that the United States purchased for federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.  Continue Reading Bullet-Proof Vest Qui Tam Case Settles

Yesterday, a delegation from the Republic of Armenia visited the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) for a presentation about best practices to fight corruption and the implementation of whistleblower laws. The visit was facilitated by the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), an initiative of the U.S. Department of State.

Attendees from the delegation included representatives from Armenia’s criminal court system (including both a lead judge and prosecutor), the Judicial Department, the Council of Justice, and the Ministry of Justice.

Continue Reading Delegation from Armenia Visits the National Whistleblower Center

A January 10th memo released by the Department of Justice states that attorneys should consider dismissing “meritless” and “parasitic” whistleblower cases filed under the False Claims Act (FCA). The FCA allows citizens to sue on the government’s behalf, should they report evidence of waste, fraud, or abuse of taxpayer dollars. Whistleblowers (called “relators” in this context), who file qui tam lawsuits under the FCA, are eligible to receive monetary rewards from the funds recovered.

Continue Reading DOJ Recommends Dismissing “Meritless” Whistleblower Cases

As a young attorney, Jeffrey Wertkin joined the Department of Justice where he investigated and litigated False Claims Act cases filed by whistleblowers. After six years fighting fraud for the government, working side by side with whistleblowers, Wertkin made the jump to the prestigious corporate law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Continue Reading Former DOJ Lawyer Goes Rogue, Turns Criminal

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.

Continue Reading Customs Fraud, Wildlife Crime, and the Value of Whistleblowers

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.

Continue Reading Whistleblowers Save Taxpayers $3.4 Billion

Press Release
October 31, 2016

On Tuesday November 1, 2016, The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby. Having suffered a 758-thousand-dollar jury verdict for defrauding the Government following Hurricane Katrina, State Farm is now attempting judicial gymnastics to avoid paying the judgment.

Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument in State Farm Ex Rel. Rigsby

Today, the National Whistleblower Center filed an Amicus (friend of the court) brief in State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby. Having suffered a 758-thousand-dollar jury verdict for defrauding the Government following Hurricane Katrina, State Farm is now attempting judicial gymnastics to avoid paying the judgment.

The question in this case is whether the harshest sanction available to a court to police its order sealing a case (i.e. dismissal) should be automatically applied, regardless of the intent of the party committing the infraction, harm caused to other parties, interest of the Government or nature of the violation itself.  In its amicus brief, the National Whistleblower Center argues against such an inflexible rule that is also contrary to Congress’s intent.

State Farm is asking the Supreme Court to read into the FCA a severe sanction for those who violate the seal provision (31 U.S.C.S. § 3730(b)(2)).  The 5th Circuit decision ruled against mandatory dismissal and in favor of a flexible balancing test that prioritizes the interests of the government, holding that a violation of the seal requirement did not warrant dismissal of this case since the government was not harmed by the disclosure and the whistleblowers did not act in bad faith. See United States ex rel. Rigsby v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 794 F.3d 457, 465 (5th Cir. 2015).

The FCA is America’s most important—and successful—anti-fraud law, and its seal provision was designed for the exclusive benefit of the Government. Mandatory dismissal would undermine the FCA and hurt taxpayers—the intended beneficiaries of the False Claims Act. The NWC’s Executive Director Steve Kohn noted, “This is another attempt by the Chamber of Commerce to undermine the False Claims Act and protect corrupt government contractors who rip off the taxpayers from accountability.  It is time to stop shooting the messenger.”

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Yesterday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing entitled “Oversight of the False Claims Act,” in which corporate lobbyists organized by the Chamber of Commerce worked to advance their agenda to cripple the False Claims Act.

Continue Reading False Claims Act Hearing a Success