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U.S. government 130 articles

New bill restores and expands whistleblower protections to federal workers

President Obama signed a whistleblower bill into law Tuesday that makes sweeping changes to current laws by closing loopholes and offering greater protection to federal employees who blow the whistle on fraud, waste, and abuse in government operations. Passage of the far-reaching Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act marks the final stage of a 13-year effort by whistleblower advocates who fought court rulings that weakened whistleblower protections and made reporting fraudulent activity extremely risky. Supporters of the bill said that from October 1994 to May 2012 the court consistently undermined whistleblower protections and ruled in favor of whistleblowers only three times in ... Read More

Small Key West pharmacy exposes billions in health care fraud

A small pharmacy in the Florida Keys earned the distinction of being the top whistleblower in the country for its role in exposing prescription drug fraud that costs state and federal governments billions of dollars in taxpayer funds. According to a report published by the National Law Journal, a small Key West pharmacy named Ven-A-Care has reported several fraudulent overcharging practices that resulted in state and federal governments recovering more than $2.5 billion from pharmaceutical companies. According to the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen, Ven-A-Care blew the whistle on Boehringer Ingelheim when it found the company overcharging government health care programs for ... Read More

Tennessee trucking firm settles whistleblower case with OSHA

A Tennessee trucking company and federal regulators have agreed to settle a whistleblower case brought by an employee driver who accused the company of firing him when he refused to make a delivery because he was ill, fatigued, and did not have enough legally permissible driving hours left to complete the run. On May 4, 2010, Mark Alvis Inc., a Brush Creek-based motor carrier, assigned the driver to deliver a truck of milk to a supermarket in Murfreesboro Tenn. While getting ready to make the haul, the driver slipped and was injured but assumed the pain would go away. The ... Read More

New SEC whistleblower office receiving better financial fraud tip-offs, Commissioner says

So far, so good was the message behind Securities and Exchange Commissioner Luis Aguilar’s assessment of the agency’s new whistleblower program, designed in response to the 2008 financial crisis to curb widespread financial fraud. Speaking to a panel of enforcement officials Thursday, Mr. Aguilar said that the SEC’s whistleblower office, established by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, has received nearly 3,000 tips from the U.S. and 45 foreign countries. But it’s not just the quantity of information pouring into the whistleblower office, it’s the quality as well. Mr. Aguilar said the incentives to report fraud and other wrongdoing have made ... Read More

Healthcare fraud crackdown leads to 91 criminal charges involving $430 million

Another U.S. government crackdown on Medicare and Medicaid fraud resulted in the criminal charges against 91 health care professionals, including several doctors and nurses, for allegedly cheating the federal programs out of $430 million. The latest sweep was similar in scope to a May crackdown that uncovered more than $450 million in false billing and other fraud directed at federal programs to help the elderly and poor with health care costs. Both sweeps are part of the government’s ramped-up efforts to recover money from the taxpayer-funded programs and deter medical professionals from further fraud, abuse, and waste. Earnest Gibson, President ... Read More

Whistleblower lawsuit reveals Abbott may have pushed cholesterol drug for unapproved uses

Little more than four months after Abbott Laboratories plead guilty to charges that it aggressively promoted and sold its anti-epileptic drug Depakote for unapproved, off-label purposes, another lawsuit against the company has been unsealed, revealing that the drug giant may have pushed its cholesterol drug TriCor illegally in the same manner. The whistleblower lawsuit, filed in September 2009 under the False Claims Act by former Abbott saleswoman Amy Bergman became public after federal and state governments declined to intervene. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Bergman, who says she was an Abbott saleswoman from 1999 through 2008, alleges in the suit ... Read More

Fraud settlements with drug companies amount to big return for Mississippi taxpayers

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood handed state lawmakers a check for more than $35 million in funds recovered by his office mainly from several cases of health care fraud committed by big-name pharmaceutical companies. “Through our office’s hard work in the past several months, we are pleased to be able to return this money to the people,” Mr. Hood said. The $35 million returned to Mississippi includes more than $13 million from an agreement to settle allegations of fraud amid the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) litigation with Barr Laboratories, Inc., IVAX Pharmaceuticals, Sicor Pharamceuticals Inc., and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Nearly $7 ... Read More

Jailed whistleblower received record $140-million award in tax evasion case

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) awarded a record $104 million to a whistleblower for his role in helping to expose an enormous tax fraud scheme orchestrated by Swiss banking giant UBS AG. The award, the largest ever paid by the federal government to an individual whistleblower, was given to Bradley Birkenfield, a UBS AG banker who was also thrown in prison to serve a 40-month sentence as part of the same case. The IRS confirmed last week that Mr. Birkenfield will receive the record award for his part in a federal investigation that resulted in UBS being fined $780 million ... Read More

Whistleblower fired for reporting asbestos in condo complex to be compensated

A Columbia, South Carolina, real estate management company has agreed to pay a former employee $45,000 and take other measures to ensure federal whistleblower provisions aren’t violated in the future, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced. The agreement settles a complaint brought against CMM Realty Inc. and its owner for allegedly terminating a maintenance worker after he reported asbestos control violations to state and federal regulatory agencies. According to OSHA, in May 2009 the employee was working at CMM’s Briargate Condominiums in Columbia when he encountered problems involving asbestos and asbestos exposure. Contact with asbestos fibers can ... Read More

Complaints accuse Merck of mumps vaccine fraud

An Alabama health care provider filed a lawsuit against Merck Monday, June 25, a week after a 2010 whistleblower lawsuit against the drug manufacturer was unsealed, revealing allegations that for a decade, Merck may have knowingly made and marketed a mumps vaccine that was “far less effective” than it told federal regulators. According to the Courthouse News, Chathom Primary Care in Chathom, Alabama, filed a federal antitrust class action against Merck after learning about a False Claims Act complaint brought against the drug maker by two former Merck virologists familiar with the company’s vaccine development. In that complaint, Stephen Krahling ... Read More