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criminal 188 articles

Utah company settles whistleblower lawsuit alleging small business contract fraud

SALT LAKE CITY—The owner of a small Utah-based construction company will receive a $148,480 whistleblower reward for helping the U.S. government recover nearly a million dollars from another larger construction company that allegedly was conducting a scheme to defraud a Small Business Administration (SBA) program designed to help small businesses. Saiz Construction and its owner Abel Saiz filed a lawsuit against Okland Construction Co. under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows individuals to sue on behalf of the U.S. government if they possess evidence of fraud, waste, abuse, and other wrongdoing targeting federal agencies and ... Read More

Congress sets hearings on GM ignition switch recall

General Motors CEO Mary Barra will testify before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee April 1 as lawmakers attempt to understand why the company she took over in mid-January knew about a potentially deadly ignition switch defect in some of its vehicles for more than a decade but failed to recall them until this past February. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will question Ms. Barra in an effort to understand if “this tragedy could have been prevented and what can be done to ensure the loss of life” doesn’t happen again. GM announced two recalls in February of 1.6 ... Read More

Judge raises Chicago State University whistleblower’s jury award

CHICAGO, Ill.—A Cook County Circuit Court judge raised the total payment a former Chicago State University employee will receive after winning his whistleblower lawsuit against the state school last month to $3 million. Plaintiff James Crowley served as the university’s former senior legal counsel when he was fired in Feb. 2010 in retaliation, he alleged, for refusing to withhold documents about school president Wayne Watson’s former employment that a faculty member had asked him for under the state public records law. Mr. Crowley also alleged he was fired for reporting questionable contracts and other misconduct in the university’s upper ranks. ... Read More

Playboy whistleblower receives record award under anti-fraud accounting law

A federal jury in California has ordered Playboy Enterprises to pay a former accounting executive at least $6 million for wrongful termination in what is believed to be the largest compensatory damages verdict given under the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley law. Catherine Zulfer, a longtime employee of the company, alleged she was fired after she reportedly refused to accrue $1 million in bonuses for top executives without the board’s approval and for complaining to management about “actual and suspected frauds and improprieties” in the company’s bookkeeping. Ms. Pachler claimed in her lawsuit that Playboy’s Chief Financial Officer Christof Pachler pressured her to ... Read More

Florida hospital to pay up to $90 million to partially settle whistleblower’s fraud allegations

ORLANDO, Fla.—A Florida Hospital reached an agreement with the U.S. government Monday that resolves part of a whistleblower’s lawsuit accusing the health care facility of engaging in illegal kickback schemes with cancer doctors and neurosurgeons and admitting patients unnecessarily. Daytona Beach-based Halifax Health, a 678-bed hospital that serves much of Florida’s northeast coast, will pay the U.S. between $80 million and $90 million to resolve the allegations, which were brought against it by a longtime employee. Elin Baklid-Kunz filed her whistleblower lawsuit against Halifax in 2009 under the federal False Claims Act, which allows private individuals to sue on behalf ... Read More

Fight against health care fraud gains momentum, recovers billions for Medicare

For every one dollar the U.S. government spent on investigating health care-related fraud and abuse in the last three years, it recovered more than $8.00, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement about its annual Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control (HCFAC) program report. According to U.S. officials, the return of $8.10 for every $1 spent cracking down on health care fraud marks the highest three-year average in the HCFAC program’s 17-year history. Thanks to stepped-up measures in combatting fraud directed against Medicare, Medicaid, and other taxpayer-funded health care programs, the federal government was able to recover a record ... Read More

Omnicare settles whistleblower allegations of fraud for $4.19 million

An Ohio corporation that provides prescription drugs to the elderly has agreed to pay the U.S. government $4.19 million to resolve a whistleblower’s allegations it engaged in an illegal kickback scheme that put financial gains over patients’ medical care. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Omnicare Inc. of Cincinnati solicited and received rewards from drug maker Amgen Inc. in exchange for implementing “therapeutic interchange” programs designed to switch Medicare beneficiaries from competitor drugs to Amgen’s anemia drug Aranesp. Based in Cincinnati, Omnicare provides drugs and pharmacy services primarily to the elderly in long-term care facilities and other health care establishments ... Read More

Judge allows whistleblower case against global trucking firm to proceed

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A U.S. District Judge in South Carolina said Tuesday a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act against a global trucking firm may proceed to trial. The lawsuit seeks millions of dollars from Covan Worldwide Moving, a Midland City, Ala.-based company that ships the household belongings of military and civilian personnel around the world. In a Tuesday hearing, Judge Joe Anderson dismissed part of the lawsuit that accuses Covan of engaging “in an intracorporate conspiracy” to defraud the U.S. government, citing insufficient evidence that the company conspired with other businesses to carry out its scheme on ... Read More

Medical imaging company pays $15.5 million to settle whistleblowers’ fraud allegations

A New York-based diagnostic imaging company has agreed to pay the U.S., New York, and New Jersey governments a total of $15.5 million to settle whistleblower allegations that it fraudulently billed federal and state health care programs for x-rays and other imaging that it never actually performed or were medically unnecessary. The settlement also resolves allegations that Diagnostic Imaging Group and its subsidiary company Doshi Diagnostic Imaging Services violated federal kickback laws by rewarding physicians for referrals to their imaging clinics. According to the Justice Department, Diagnostic Imaging provided these kickbacks in the form of excessive payments to doctors for ... Read More

Whistleblower’s False Claims Act lawsuit recovers $6.5 million for U.S. Navy

A whistleblower will receive $1.28 million for helping the U.S. Department of Defense recover millions of dollars in funds fraudulently taken from the U.S. Navy by a defense contractor, the U.S. Justice Department announced. Vector Planning and Services Inc. (VPS) agreed to pay the U.S. government $6.5 million to resolve the whistleblower’s allegations in a lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act, which allows private individuals with evidence of fraud and other wrongdoing sue on behalf of the federal government. The Act’s whistleblower provisions (often referred to as “qui tam” provisions) have become one of the federal government’s most powerful tools ... Read More