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Consumer Fraud 1449 articles

Whistleblower Files Retaliation Complaint Against Texas Mental Health Hospital

A whistleblower who lost her job at an Austin, Texas area mental health hospital allegedly for reporting patient mistreatment to state regulators has filed a retaliation complaint, accusing her former employer of violating Texas whistleblower laws. Plaintiff Nicola Seahorn was hired as the clinical services director at Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute in April 2018. She was on the job just a few months when she became concerned about the mistreatment of patients by hospital staff. On June 26, the chief nurse notified Ms. Seahorn that a mental health tech had punched a patient in the face, an altercation that was ... Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Revive Trinity Industries Guardrail Case

Trinity Industries will no longer have to fend off a $663.4 million judgment against it after the nation’s top court rejected a whistleblower’s bid to revive a 2014 jury verdict accusing the guardrail manufacturer of defrauding the government. The U.S. Supreme Court Justices declined to hear whistleblower Joshua Harman’s final appeal to leave the dangerous-guardrail judgment intact after it had been tossed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in 2017, according to Reuters. Mr. Harman sued Trinity Industries in 2012 under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, alleging that the Texas-based manufacturer defrauded the ... Read More

U.S. Attorney General Nominee Vows to Uphold False Claims Act

Stepping back from previous criticism of the False Claims Act, William Barr, Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General, pledged he would stand by the law that authorizes whistleblowers to sue on behalf of the U.S. government and American taxpayers. Mr. Barr, who served as the attorney general in President George H.W. Bush’s administration from 1991 to 1993, once described the False Claims Act as an “abomination” and displayed an appetite to challenge the law, which he viewed as unconstitutional. In 1989, Mr. Barr wrote that the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act replaced the Judicial Department’s prosecutorial discretion ... Read More

Whistleblowers Say Colorado’s Revenue Dept. Wasting Millions of Taxpayer Dollars

Whistleblowers within the Colorado Department of Revenue say that waste, incompetence, and mismanagement in the agency are costing state taxpayers millions of dollars. The Denver Channel’s Contact 7 says it received a letter in a Colorado Department of Revenue envelope from “Concerned Colorado Department of Revenue Employees, Taxpayers, & Citizens of Colorado.” The whistleblowers pointed to “Climate Surveys” that assess the atmosphere within the agency by compiling anonymous feedback from Tax Division employees. “It is very important you get the results of these surveys … to understand the level of internal strife caused by the incompetence and mismanagement of resources ... Read More

Home Depot Whistleblower Files Retaliation Complaint

A former Home Depot employee is suing the national DIY retailer alleging it fired him in retaliation for calling out illegal hazardous waste dumping practices. James Girsch , 65, of Escondido, California, filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against Home Depot Nov. 29 in San Diego Superior Court. The former Home Depot paint department supervisor says he was one of the whistleblowers who reported that Home Depot centers in California were “routinely and systematically sending hazardous waste to local landfills that were not permitted to receive those wastes, and were tossing documents containing sensitive customer information into store trash bins, potentially ... Read More

SEC Moves To Cap Whistleblower Awards

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will propose to a rule that would slash awards to whistleblowers in some of the biggest cases of securities-law violations – a move that raises concerns such a rule could weaken incentives for individuals to report fraud and other wrongdoing. Currently, whistleblowers who tip off the SEC to securities violations receive between 10 and 30 percent of the total sanctions levied against the violating firm, as long as the sanctions amount to at least $1 million. The Wall Street Journal notes that the narrow majority of awards doled out under the SEC’s whistleblower program ... Read More

Barclays Bank Fined $15 Million for CEO’s Anti-Whistleblower Actions

New York regulators fined Barclays Bank $15 million after investigations on both sides of the Atlantic determined that CEO Jes Staley broke the law by attempting to learn the identity of a bank whistleblower. The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced the fine Dec. 18, saying it was tied to Mr. Staley’s attempts to unmask the author of two whistleblower letters criticizing the CEO’s hiring of a longtime associate for the job of head of Barclay’s financial institutions group. According to Bloomberg, Barclays’ whistleblower scandal started in June 2016, when the bank’s board received an anonymous letter from ... Read More

Massachusetts Boosts Tobacco Sales Age to 21

With the New Year comes a new Massachusetts state law boosting the minimum age for the purchase of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21. The new law comes on the heels of data showing that teens are turning to e-cigarettes and other vaping devices in alarming numbers, rolling back decades of progress in reducing smoking rates among U.S. youth. Considering that nicotine is harmful to the developing brains of people 25 and younger, it may be surprising to know that the new law makes Massachusetts just the sixth state to restrict the sale of tobacco products to individuals 21 ... Read More

False Claims Act Suit Alleges Kansas City Clinic Defrauded Medicare

A Kansas chiropractic clinic faces a False Claims Act lawsuit seeking more than $1.4 million on allegations that it wrongfully billed Medicare for neuropathy treatments that didn’t qualify for reimbursement or were never provided to patients. The lawsuit, filed Dec. 21 in federal court, accuses Kansas City Health & Wellness Clinic and its owners, brothers Ryan Schell and Tyler Schell, of soliciting Medicare beneficiaries with ads claiming they could heal peripheral neuropathy and “rejuvenate the nerve fibers,” according to Kansas City’s KCUR 89.3. Peripheral neuropathy results from damage to the peripheral nerves, causing weakness, numbness, and stabbing, burning, or tingling ... Read More

Wells Fargo Pays $575 Million To Settle Customer-Fraud Allegations

Wells Fargo will pay $575 million to resolve claims in all 50 states and the District of Columbia alleging the San Francisco-based bank violated consumer protection laws by opening millions of fake bank accounts for its customers. The bank also agreed to measures that will give its customers an extra level of protection by creating a customer restitution program, an announcement of the Dec. 28 agreement explained. Any Wells Fargo customers who haven’t been reimbursed through the restitution programs already in place at the bank can turn to a bank escalation team for relief. The settlement resolves claims that Wells Fargo ... Read More