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. Continue Reading Empowering whistleblowers is the key to combating wildlife crime
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 Whistleblower
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.