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criminal 188 articles

State Farm seeks new trial in Mississippi whistleblower fraud case

Illinois-based State Farm and Casualty Co. has asked a federal judge to overturn a Mississippi jury’s finding the insurance company defrauded the U.S. government by allegedly manipulating damage reports after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 to blame damage on storm-surge floods instead of wind damage. The whistleblower case originated with Cori and Kerri Rigsby of Ocean Springs, Miss., sisters who worked for an Alabama contractor State Farm hired to assess damages after the hurricane. The borderline category-3 / category-4 storm was the costliest and most destructive storm in U.S. history. It decimated entire cities along the Gulf ... Read More

Generic drug maker settles whistleblower case for $500 million

MONTGOMERY, Ala.—The Alabama Attorney General’s office announced Tuesday that it participated with other states and the federal government in a $500-million settlement with India-based generic drug manufacturer Ranbaxy to resolve civil and criminal allegations that company for years made and sold dozens of adulterated prescription drugs. The company’s willful manufacture of 26 generic prescription drugs below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) standards for strength, purity, and quality resulted in fraudulent claims submitted to Alabama’s Medicaid Agency as well as other state and federal health care programs. “This settlement sends a strong message to international drug manufacturers that they ... Read More

FDA strengthens Depakote warnings over cognitive risks to unborn children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning childbearing women and their doctors to avoid using Depakote and other drugs containing valproate commonly used to treat migraine headaches after the final results of a study showed the drugs could lower the IQ of unborn children. “Valproate medications should never be used in pregnant women for the prevention of migraine headaches because we have even more data now that show the risks to the children outweigh any treatment benefits for this use,” said Russell Katz, M.D., director of neurology drugs in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Depakote ... Read More

New study finds significant link between Depakote use and birth defects

A new study published in an international neurology journal has found “statistically significant associations” between valproate drugs such as Depakote (valproic acid) and spina bifida, as well as malformations of the heart, great vessels, digits, skull bones, and brain. The study, published March 6 in the international neurology journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, underscores concerns that Depakote exposure, especially in childbearing women, can interrupt fetal development and lead to a spectrum of birth defects. Another recent study, published in the Lancet Neurology journal in January, linked Depakote exposure prior to birth to lower average IQs in children. Researchers found that the higher ... Read More

Child finds Depakote, Adderall drugs inside Easter egg during church egg hunt

DAPHNE, ALA—An arrest has been made in the case of an Easter egg hunt at an Alabama Catholic Church that resulted in a child finding prescription drugs inside a plastic egg instead of candy. Authorities say that 21-year-old Jarrett Helm has been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in connection with the incident. According to the Daphne police department, a 6-year-old child found an Easter egg that contained one Depakote pill and half an Adderall pill while searching for Easter eggs at Christ the King Catholic Church. Depakote is an antiepileptic drug that maker Abbott Laboratories has aggressively marketed for ... Read More

Whistleblower film raises fundamental questions about American rights and freedom

U.S. filmmaker Jim Spione, whose Academy Award nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad portrayed the transformation of one infantryman after witnessing the July 2007 slayings of two Reuters journalists and a number of Iraqi civilians by U.S. combat helicopters, is now in post-production with a new film documenting the experiences of four federal whistleblowers. Aptly called SILENCED for the retaliation truth tellers often endure, the film “follows a group of high-profile truthtellers who dared to question official national security policy in post 9-11 America, and have endured harsh consequences,” Mr. Spione explains on the website Kickstarter, a funding platform for ... Read More

Returns on healthcare fraud cases climbing, U.S. officials say

For every one dollar the U.S. prosecutors spent on pursuing cases of healthcare-related fraud in the past three years, it has recovered $7.90, according to a report jointly released by the U.S. Justice Department and Department of Health and Human Services. These efforts have returned $4.2 billion to Medicare, Medicaid, and other vital programs funded by U.S. taxpayers, the report states – a record high return in the 16-year history of the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Program. The Obama Administration has made the elimination of fraud, waste, and abuse a top priority, especially in the health care industry, the ... Read More

Legal threats force shutdown of whistleblower blog exposing science fraud

A disturbing blow to honesty and accuracy in the scientific world has occurred with the closure of the Science Fraud blog, a website whose operator faced a torrent of legal threats after he and his staff exposed several hundred lies and distortions across 300 scientific publications. Paul Brookes, University of Rochester professor and researcher, operated the website anonymously with the help of a number of anonymous assistants who submitted material they found questionable and helped with its analysis. Many of the fraudulent claims exposed by Professor Brookes and his team led to papers being retracted. A lawyer representing the author ... Read More

National Whistleblower Tour kicks off at Auburn University Jan. 31

Auburn University will be the first stop on a national “whistleblower tour” presented by the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a program designed to boost awareness about the importance of whistleblowing and ethical decision making in American democracy. Co-sponsored by Auburn’s School of Accountancy, The America Whistleblower Tour: Essential Voices for Accountability will be held Thursday, Jan. 31, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Lowder Hall, room 113-A. The program includes two prominent whistleblowers whose work had vital, far-reaching implications for the entire country. Few whistleblower cases demonstrate the importance of holding wrongdoers and government regulators accountable than Frank Casey, one ... Read More

Defense Department bill institutes better protections for whistleblowers

An estimated 12 million people who receive federal grants and contracts will now also receive whistle-blower protections and legal recourse under a new defense bill sent to President Barack Obama in December. The $633-billion bill, which passed the Senate 81-14, covers the cost of aircraft, ships, weapons, military personnel, Energy Department nuclear defense programs, and the war in Afghanistan. It also contains provisions that would help protect these federal funds against fraud and waste while offering whistle blowers better protections in reporting abuse. Under the new bill, workers who are fired or harassed for reporting fraud, waste, abuse, and ethical ... Read More