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criminal 188 articles

Feds widen crackdown on $56-million Medicare fraud scheme in New Orleans

Federal prosecutors have widened their crackdown on a $56-million health care fraud scheme in the New Orleans area, announcing charges against seven more individuals, including two physicians, who allegedly billed Medicare for home health care services that were not medically necessary or were never provided. The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that a New Orleans grand jury indicted the seven individuals, bringing the total number involved in the alleged fraud scheme to 13 defendants. The indicted individuals operated six health care companies. Federal prosecutors say the individuals participated in the scheme through these companies, billing Medicare for home health services ... Read More

Whistleblower gets nearly $I million for exposing potentially deadly Army Humvee fraud

A Minnesota whistleblower who warned his employer, M.K. Battery, and the U.S. Defense Department of a battery change in Humvee vehicles that could have deadly consequences for U.S. combat soldiers has won nearly $1 million in a $5.5-million settlement. David McIntosh, 49, worked as a regional sales representative for M.K. Battery when he repeatedly tried and failed to get his superiors to inform the U.S. Army about a battery change that drastically reduced the life expectancy of the power sources controlling gun turrets on the Humvee. With his concerns falling on deaf ears, Mr. McIntosh contacted the Defense Department directly ... Read More

U.S. Treasury approved GM exec pay raises despite poor performance, losses

Top executives at General Motors (GM) and Ally Finance (formerly GMAC, GM’s former consumer finance offspring) received “excessive” pay hikes approved by the U.S. Treasury Department, which has monitored and approved executive salaries and bonuses since the companies received $66.7 billion in taxpayer-funded bailout money. According to a report released Wednesday by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), the Treasury Department allowed total pay packages of at least $1 million for all of the top executives at both companies. The report also says several GM executives who received a combined $3 million ... Read More

Whistleblower settles wrongful termination case with Caddo Parish DA’s office

SHREVEPORT, La. – An investigator for the Caddo Parish, La., District Attorney’s Office who claimed he was fired in retaliation for reporting the D.A. office’s unorthodox purchase of several automatic weapons has settled a wrongful termination lawsuit for $447,000. According to the Shreveport Times, former Caddo District Attorney chief investigator Don Ashley said he grew concerned as District Attorney Charles Scott and assistant prosecutors began engaging in unusual “police-like behavior, including outfitting their vehicles with lights and sirens, making traffic stops, and wearing SWAT-type clothing during work hours.” This militant activity, which Mr. Ashley said began in 2009, eventually led ... Read More

GM announces two new recalls to repair fire hazards

General Motors (GM) has announced two new safety recalls over defects that could potentially result in fire, and in some cases, explosion. Last week, GM said it was recalling about 3,200 natural gas-powered cargo vans for gas leaks that could lead to an explosion and fire. The recall affects 3,196 Chevrolet Express CNG and GMC Sahara vans powered by compressed natural gas. The Detroit automaker informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the affected vehicles “may have a CNG (compressed natural gas) high pressure regulator that leaks natural gas into the atmosphere,” adding that this flaw “could cause ... Read More

U.S. Attorney General Holder calls for better whistleblower rewards in financial industry

Whistleblowers who help expose fraud and other misconduct in the financial world could earn bigger rewards in the future in exchange for the efforts, if U.S, Attorney General Eric Holder has his way. Threats brewing in the financial industry today have come to resemble some of the dubious greed-driven behaviors that devastated the U.S. economy in 2008 despite the government’s efforts to prevent a similar catastrophe from recurring in the coming years. “We are already witnessing a troubling return to some of the very same profit-driven risk-taking that contributed to the 2008 collapse,” Mr. Holder said in a speech Wednesday ... Read More

NHTSA’s failure to address GM ignition switch problem detailed in Congressional report

Federal auto safety regulators fell under scathing criticism again this week following the release of a House committee report that underscored their failures in policing General Motors (GM) while consumer complaints about defects and accident reports piled up in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) database. “The agency’s repeated failure to identify, let alone explore, the potential defect theory related to the ignition switch — even after it was spelled out in a report the agency commissioned — is inexcusable,” the House Energy and Commerce Committee concluded in its report. The report blames NHTSA for failing to notice a ... Read More

Whistleblower lawsuits accusing Merck of mumps vaccine deceptions will proceed to court, judge decides

Two lawsuits accusing Merck & Co. of lying about the efficacy of its mumps vaccines to keep competitors from introducing similar vaccines to the market will be proceed to trial after a federal judge in Pennsylvania refused to dismiss the suits. U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones II ruled that one of the lawsuits, filed by a pair of whistleblowers who worked as virologists for Merck, provided enough evidence that the pharmaceutical giant lied about the vaccine’s efficacy to the federal government. The judge also ruled that the other lawsuit, filed by a group of physicians and direct buyers, could ... Read More

Whistleblower lawsuit targets medical companies, professionals for unnecessary spinal surgeries

The U.S. government has intervened in a whistleblower’s False Claims Act lawsuit against a Michigan neurosurgeon, a spinal implant company, two distributors, and the companies’ owners, alleging that the defendants conspired to perform medically unnecessary and excessive surgeries on patients for profit. The Justice Department also said that in addition to taking over the whistleblower lawsuit, it has filed a separate complaint against the same defendants for engaging in an illegal kickback scheme that put profits above patients’ needs. The whistleblower lawsuit was filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act by Dr. Caty Savitch and Dr. ... Read More

Judge allows whistleblower’s False Claims Act lawsuit against Novartis to move forward

A New York federal judge has rejected Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp.’s bid to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit alleging the company engaged in illegal kickback schemes involving two of its drugs, which resulted in false claims to Medicare and 27 state Medicaid programs. The lawsuit, filed under seal by whistleblower David Kester in 2011, was amended by the U.S. government in January, about nine months after it chose to intervene and take over the case as the U.S. False Claims Act allows it to do. Mr. Kester worked for seven years as an account manager for Novartis, a position that required him ... Read More