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criminal 188 articles

U.S. indicts Auburn cardiologist on 10 counts of health care fraud

The U.S. government indicted an Auburn cardiologist May 21, accusing him of implanting patients with heart stents they didn’t need so that he could bill federal and private insurance programs for his own financial gain. According to the indictment, Dr. Robert W. Mitchell allegedly performed unnecessary heart catheterizations from at least January 2006 to February 2012, falsely documenting the extent of coronary blockages in his patients and their need for the stent procedures. The federal government alleges that Dr. Mitchell then submitted false claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies for reimbursement, a practice that increased the profit margin ... Read More

Reuters analysis finds GM ignition switch defect may have killed 74

According to an analysis of federal fatal crash data conducted by Reuters, at least 74 people have died in General Motors (GM) car crashes in which a faulty ignition switch could be to blame. The Reuters analysis is the second independent study to indicate that defective ignition switches may responsible for dozens more fatalities than the 13 GM has linked to the problem. Reuters combed through the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a database of crash records from local law enforcement agencies, for crashes involving front collisions, frontal airbag failure, and the death of a driver or front-seat passenger. The ... Read More

Alabama nurse receives $15 million whistleblower reward for exposing Medicare fraud

A Monroeville, Ala., nurse who filed a False Claims Act lawsuit against a home health care company will receive more than $15 million for her part in helping the U.S. recover $150 million in funds that she and others claim were fraudulently taken from Medicare and other health care programs. April Brown filed her whistleblower lawsuit in a federal court in Birmingham in 2010, alleging that her employer, Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Amedisys Inc. billed for health care services that she hadn’t provided or were provided but not medically necessary. Ms. Brown, a home health care nurse in the Monroeville area, ... Read More

Canadian authorities open investigation of GM ignition-switch deaths

Canada’s top-ranking transportation official confirmed Tuesday that her agency has opened an investigation of two fatal GM vehicle crashes in which the airbags failed to deploy, and whether those crashes are a result of the Detroit automaker’s ignition switch defect. A GM spokesman said the two Canadian crashes were included in its ignition-switch crash figures. The Detroit automaker has said the ignition switch defect, which can allow keys to slip out of position and cut power to the engine, is to blame for 13 deaths. GM also linked the switch defect to 31 crashes originally, but last week raised the ... Read More

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission resolves its first whistleblower case

A whistleblower who provided tips that led to the first-ever recovery by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) since its two-year-old whistleblower program was created will receive $240,000. On Tuesday CFTC Chairman Mark Wetjen said that the whistleblower provided valuable information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. The whistleblower’s identity has not been disclosed in compliance with regulations that require confidentiality to protect the whistleblower from retaliation. “I am pleased to announce this first award, which illustrates that the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program is a valuable resource for the American public. Information received under the Whistleblower Program helps the agency ... Read More

Mounting evidence shows GM’s knowledge of ignition switch defect more widespread than claimed

As a number of investigations progress into General Motors (GM) and why it failed for 13 years to recall its defective ignition switches, more and more evidence collected in the probes indicates awareness of the problem went far beyond a few mid-level employees, as GM has claimed. According to the New York Times, GM’s legal department, including its general counsel, “acted with increasing urgency in the last 12 months to grapple with the spreading impact of the ignition problem.” Depositions ordered in litigation involving the defective switches also threatened to implicate GM executives, prompting several departments to step up their ... Read More

GM to pay maximum penalty for mishandling ignition switch recall

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Friday that General Motors (GM) will pay a civil fine of $35 million for its mishandling of an ignition switch defect recall. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hit GM with the maximum fine allowable under current U.S. law, Secretary Foxx said he will push lawmakers to raise the penalties for such violations to $300 million. The proposed hike will almost certainly trigger an outcry from the auto lobby, but it shouldn’t. NHTSA only hits automakers with maximum fines when there is clear evidence that they failed to issue a timely recall, ... Read More

GM issues five new safety recalls affecting 2.67 million vehicles

General Motors (GM) announced another slew of safety recalls Thursday encompassing about 2.9 million vehicles globally. Most of the recalled vehicles – about 2.67 million – are in the United States. The largest of the five new recalls affects about 2.44 million Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac G6, and Saturn Aura cars from the 2004 to 2012 model years. GM says that the brake light wires can potentially corrode on these vehicles, causing the brake lights to quit working. GM first discovered the problem six years ago but has only issued an advisory to its dealerships and fixed a small number of ... Read More

Did GM’s top execs remain in the dark on ignition switch defect?

How much General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra knew about the company’ defective ignition switches before she took the top seat on January 15 has been the source of much speculation, and now Congressional investigators are trying to determine whether she and other top executives may have had more involvement in the problem than they have acknowledged. According to Reuters, emails, internal reports, and other GM documents obtained by Congress show that two former Barra lieutenants, Jim Frederico and Terry Woychowski, worked with the GM engineer who led an internal probe of the ignition switch problem from August 2011 to ... Read More

Whistleblower says Wyoming county defrauded U.S. government by falsifying financial records

A Wyoming county employee has filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging officials in Natrona County, Wyo., defrauded the federal government by falsifying financial records to acquire more grant money from the U.S. government. The whistleblower also says he was fired from his job of 22 years after he reported the fraud. Charles Loraas, who served as the superintendent of Alcova Reservoir from 1989 to 2011, claims that Natrona County Bridge and Parks division cheated the U.S. government by falsifying financial records related to the cost of maintaining the reservoirs and expenses it incurred in operating the lakes. “While creating the appearance ... Read More