Sen. Chuck Grassley believes the Department of Justice has moved to dismiss false claims cases without considering the merits or conducting cost-benefit analyses.

In a September 4 letter to Attorney General William Barr, Grassley writes that he is concerned about the DOJ’s “efforts to dismiss greater numbers of qui tam  (false claims) cases for reasons that appear primarily unrelated to the merits of individual cases. Those efforts rely at least in part on vague and at times questionable concerns over prerogatives or limited government resources to handle the cases.”

The Iowa Republican notes that such actions “could undermine the purpose of the False Claims Act by discouraging whistleblowers and dismissing potentially serious fraud on the taxpayers.”

Grassley and others have raised concerns about the increase in the DOJ’s motions dismiss cases brought on the government’s behalf. The change follows the emergence of the 2018 Granston memo, which recommended government dismissal of whistleblower cases that were costly or lacked merit.
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Medicine is a profession with high ethical standards. At the same time, there is much money to be made. Bad players find ways to siphon some of the nearly $600 billion we spend on Medicare each year. So, both the health care industry and its regulators constantly struggle with how to cope with the kickbacks, conflicts of interest and billing for unnecessary care.

Illustration by Nora Valdez

Last year, $2.5 billion of the $2.8 billion in Department of Justice False Claim Act recoveries involved the health care industry. In 2019, whistleblowers working with the DOJ included hospital administrators, sales representatives, home health care workers, physicians and patients.

Now, they may have more muscle. Maria Durant, a partner with the firm Hogan and Lovells, told a group of lawyers gathered in Boston last week there has been a major shift in the way courts interpret the validity of medical opinion. She spoke at a conference on health care law held Thursday by the Boston Bar Association. 
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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 :


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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.  
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Photo Credit: Leslie Rose Photography
Photo Credit: Leslie Rose Photography

Whistleblowers have been effective at combatting financial and corporate crime, but are sorely lacking in the sphere of wildlife crime. If empowered to combat it, whistleblowers could be fundamental to dismantling the wildlife crime economy, writes Scott Hajost, Managing Director, Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program, National Whistleblower Center.
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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.
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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.


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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. 
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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.


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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.

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