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whistleblower 713 articles

Judge Rules Whistleblowers Can Provide SEC with Confidential Documents To Substantiate Fraud Claims

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A San Diego federal judge’s Feb. 14 ruling in a whistleblower dispute involving Bank of Internet (BofI) and a former employee who provided classified information to federal regulators about potential securities violations enhances protections for certain whistleblowers who report fraud. According to Courthouse News Service, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant denied most of BofI’s motions for a summary judgement of whistleblower protections from Charles Matthew Erhart, who was formerly employed as BofI’s internal auditor. Mr. Erhart started working for San Diego-based BofI in September 2013. He reported the bank to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) upon discovering it worked ... Read More

Florida Dermatologist Settles Medicare Fraud, Kickback Complaints

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A Florida federal judge has entered a judgement against a dermatologist and his medical practice, ordering them to pay more than $18 million for allegedly pocketing tens of millions of dollars from Medicare by ordering medically unnecessary biopsies, falsely diagnosing patients with cancer, performing unnecessary radiation treatments on patients, and illegally billing the government for those biopsies and radiation treatments. The allegations were originally made in two separate False Claims Act lawsuits filed in December 2013 and June 2014 by Dr. Theodore Schiff, a dermatologist who is the medical director and managing partner of Water’s Edge Dermatology LLC, a dermatology ... Read More

U.S. Joins Whistleblower lawsuit Against UnitedHealthcare

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The U.S. government has joined a former UnitedHealth executive in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging the company “engaged in systematic fraud” that allowed it, subsidiary companies, and other insurers to fraudulently overcharge Medicare by “hundreds of millions — and likely billions — of dollars.” Benjamin Poehling, the former finance director for UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement, a subsidiary that works with the Medicare Advantage program, filed the lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles in 2011 under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. The lawsuit remained under seal for years while federal officials investigated Mr. Poehling’s claims. It became public ... Read More

Oklahoma Joins Federal Government in whistleblower Lawsuit Alleging Kickbacks, False Claims

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The state of Oklahoma has joined federal prosecutors in alleging that the Oklahoma-based Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) and its director Stephen Williamson accepted millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks from a company that formerly provided Oklahoma’s ambulance services. The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint in a Texas federal court seeking to partially intervene in a whistleblower lawsuit against EMSA, a public trust that provides ambulance service to more than 1.1 million people in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas. The state alleges that EMSA and Mr. Williamson engaged in a kickback scheme regarding highly profitable ambulance services ... Read More

Former Bio-Rad Executive Awarded Nearly $11 Million In Whistleblower Retaliation Case

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A federal jury in California awarded the former general counsel/executive vice president of Bio-Rad Laboratories nearly $11 million in compensatory and punitive damages in a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit he filed against the company. Sanford Wadler sued California-based Bio-Rad, which produces life sciences and clinical diagnostic chemicals, in U.S. District Court for Northern California, claiming the company fired him in June 2013 in retaliation for blowing the whistle on potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in China. Mr. Wadler accused Bio-Rad of terminating his employment just before the company was to present its findings from an internal investigation into bribery in Russia, ... Read More

D.C. Lawyer Busted For Attempting To Sell Sealed False Claims Act Complaint

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A D.C. lawyer from a leading international firm was busted in a Cupertino, California, hotel last month for trying to sell a copy of a False Claims Act lawsuit that was under seal. According to Bloomberg, an FBI agent arrested Jeffery Wertkin on Jan. 31 in the lobby of the Cupertino hotel. Mr. Wertkin, wearing a wig and going by the name Dan, believed he was handing the lawsuit to a contact of the potential defendant company in exchange for $310,000. The False Claims Act contains a qui tam or “whistleblower” provision that allows private parties to sue on behalf ... Read More

Hospital Staffing Firm Agrees To Pay U.S. $60 Million To Settle False Claims Act Lawsuit

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TeamHealth Holdings, a major U.S. hospital service provider, has agreed to pay $60 million plus interest to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit filed by a physician who accused IPC Healthcare Inc., a hospital manager that TeamHealth acquired, of overcharging federally funded health care programs for the services it performed. Dr. Bijan Oughatiyan, a physician formerly employed by IPC as a hospitalist, filed the original lawsuit under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private parties to sue on behalf of the federal government in cases of suspected fraud. Federal prosecutors investigated Dr. Oughatiyan’s claims and chose ... Read More

Celgene Urges Judge To Reconsider $40 Billion False Claims Act Case Ruling

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Drugmaker Celgene has asked a California federal judge to reconsider his decision to allow most of a $40 billion False Claims Act lawsuit to advance, arguing that a recent Ninth Circuit ruling requires the court to apply standards established by the Supreme Court in the recent Escobar case that the whistleblower cannot satisfy, Law360 reports. In December, U.S. District Judge George H. King, Central District of California, ruled that the bulk of whistleblower Beverly Brown’s False Claims allegations can move forward. Ms. Brown’s lawsuit alleges that the drugmaker promoted its bone cancer drugs Thalomid and Revlimid for unapproved purposes and ... Read More

Georgia Pain Doctor Settles False Claims Act Suits for $20 Million

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A pain management doctor with clinics in Georgia and Kentucky has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a pair of False Claims Act lawsuits alleging that he billed Medicare and other government health care programs for services he never performed and for unnecessary diagnostic tests. Dr. Robert Windsor owned a group of pain management clinics in Georgia and Kentucky that operated under the name National Pain Care Inc. The clinics closed abruptly last year after Dr. Windsor pleaded guilty to charges of health care fraud and received a 26-month prison sentence plus three years of supervised release. The settlement ... Read More

Montana Legislators Consider Tougher Whistleblower Protections for State Employees

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Two bills proposing better whistleblower protections for public workers who speak out against fraud, waste, and abuse with state agencies passed the Montana House last week. According to the Associated Press, one of the bills would prohibit state agencies and programs from retaliating against a public employee who blows the whistle on misconduct. The other would allow the public employee to file a civil lawsuit against a supervisor who attempts to obstruct the whistleblower’s efforts to communicate “a matter of public concern” with a state legislator. The original version of the bills would have made whistleblower retaliation and obstruction criminal ... Read More