False Claims / Qui Tam

When does the statute of limitations clock start running in a False Claims Act (FCA) case when the government declines to intervene in a whistleblower case?  That is the question the Supreme Court will consider when it takes up Cochise Consultancy, Inc. v. United States.

The National Whistleblower Center filed an amicus curiae brief in the case this week.

At issue: Must an FCA plaintiff rely on the statute of limitations in a suit in which the United States declines to intervene?  If so, does the three-year limitations period begins to run from the date of the whistleblower’s knowledge of the alleged false claim, or from the date of the government official’s knowledge of the alleged false claim?

The brief, written by NWC executive director Stephen M. Kohn, notes that his organization takes the position that the “merits of a claim often bear no relation to the duration of a case.” Continue Reading Brief: Supreme Court needs to uphold False Claims Act statute of limitations as “clearly set forth in the law.”

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 :

Continue Reading The Hill: AG nominee must clarify past comments on False Claims Act whistleblower provisions

Is the False Claims Act an “abomination”? Are whistleblowers “bounty hunters”? That’s what Attorney General nominee William Barr said during in a 2001 interview conducted at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. Now, a group of advocates, academics and attorneys has asked U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to find out if Barr still feels that way after 18 years.

Committee hearings on Barr’s nomination begin on January 15. Continue Reading Does Attorney General nominee William Barr still think the False Claims Act is unconstitutional? Sen. Grassley needs to find out.

Fresh water turtlesA 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

Alex-Sasha-Chepurko-whistleblower-interview
Whistleblower on CBS show

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

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. Continue Reading CBS News Special Will Feature Bullet Proof Vest Qui Tam Lawsuit

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

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

(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