A recent investigation into wildlife trafficking highlights the importance of improving whistleblower incentives in the wildlife crimes sphere. Through “Operation Dragon,” the Wildlife Justice Commission (“WJC”) investigated the ties between the trafficking of endangered and CITES-listed freshwater turtles and the corruption that facilitates that illicit trade. Over the course of two years, WJC used undercover investigators to document operations of eight major trafficking networks in South Asia and the corrupt customs and transportation officials that consistently enabled the trafficking. The investigation allowed law enforcement to significantly disrupt these networks, arresting 30 individuals and seizing over 6,000 freshwater turtles. Wholesale value for a batch of 6,000 averages $3 million. Continue Reading As Anti-Corruption Day Approaches, WJC Report Reminds Us of the Importance of Whistleblower Incentives
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
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
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
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