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An experienced whistleblower attorney, successful trial attorney, former criminal prosecutor, and former reporter Representing whistleblowers reporting fraud on the Federal State Governments

F9944B73-7006-4DA2-91E8-1D1BAF75A50E-1-300x200The chief financial officer (CFO) and deputy chairwoman of the Chinese-based tech giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, has faced extradition from Canada to the United States after appearing in a Canadian court. This case involves allegations that charge Meng with 13 counts related bank and wire fraud. The company is still standing by Meng in this case, and have stated their support for her as well as their willingness to fight the extradition.

The start of these charges is linked to an alleged long-running scheme that involved Meng and other Huawei officials deceiving banks on a global scale, as well as the U.S. government, in order to go against American sanctions and do business with Iran.

While there are many other reports about the past details of Meng’s case, the main topic at this time is the continued effort by Huawei to support Meng as they fight against these charges.

 
 
Johnson & Johnson, GE, Siemens, and Philips are being investigated by the FBI for an alleged kickback scheme that could span over two decades. According to a recent report by Reuters, these companies may have been part of a complex scheme designed to secure medical equipment contracts in Brazil through a series of bribes made to government figures.

While additional companies may also be involved, the four major players in this scheme appear to be Johnson & Johnson, GE, Siemens, and Philips, which are United States based companies worth a combined $600 billion. But, why would these companies target Brazil? When it comes to public healthcare programs, Brazil serves well over 200 million individuals, making it a valuable area to secure for related medical contracts. The alleged scandal is estimated to have been taking place for more than two decades, however Brazil’s recent anti-corruption push has lead to a series of investigations related to similar offenses.

According to the report, the companies involved in the kickback scheme strategically bribed government officials of Brazil to help them secure upcoming contracts, mainly in the medical equipment field. In addition to receiving the Brazilian partnerships fraudulently, several of the companies involved even charged the government of Brazil inflated prices for the supplied medical equipment. At times this inflation was eight times greater than the current market price, and the funds were then used to cover the cost of previous and future bribes. The medical equipment involved in these scandals were mainly magnetic resonance imaging machines and prosthetics.

Howard Wilkinson, the mysterious  former employee of Danske Bank who uncovered $234 BILLION in money laundering, will be featured on “60 Minutes” this Sunday at 7:00 p.m. ET on CBS. This is his first major statement made in the U.S. Wilkinson discovered the scheme while working for the bank’s branch in Tallinn Estonia. He is represented by Kohn, Kohn & Colaptino. Wilkinson’s job was to run the market trading side of the bank for the Baltic region. A colleague asked him for some help getting information about a customer registered in the United Kingdom as Lantana Trade LLP. He checked the firm’s assets and income on the British business registry. When he did so, Lantana was listed as dormant. However, he saw by looking at their account at the bank, transactions worth multiple millions of dollars a day. As this is considered the largest money laundering scheme ever uncovered, there has been intense interest in it. Given the players involved including various persons in Russia, the story is expected to be the basis of a major Hollywood film.

For his part, Wilkinson, a British citizen, did not wish to have his name become public. The suspicious payments flowing through the bank came from Russia through Danske to the West. Wilkinson was dragged into the spotlight after an Estonian newspaper published his name in September.

In a press release following the leak of Mr. Wilkinson’s identity, his counsel  Stephen Kohn, made the following statement:

AdobeStock_20560702-300x201The Department of Financial Services of New York has launched an investigation into popular tax preparation services including TurboTax, which was developed by Intuit, and H&R Block. According to their investigation, these services may have purposefully hidden free tax programs from qualifying customers using deceptive coding techniques and Google Ad strategies.

A total of four tax preparation software companies received subpoenas for similar alleged offenses at the beginning of this month. Mainly, investigators demanded information regarding the programs that were marketed as ‘free’ for users who earn under $66,000 in yearly income.

News of the scheme came to light as users reported being unable to locate the free services being offered. When users signed on to utilize the tax preparation services they were often automatically directed to more costly programs. According to the investigation, many consumers requested refunds after being directed to the more expensive versions of the service but were lied to about their eligibility in an effort to disqualify them from their desired refund.

solar-fish-300x225Solar Fish was reported by FTI Consulting to have received a payment of $355 million from six different parties. While on the surface it comes off as a simple financial transaction, this payment is suspected to be for the sale of a number of Russian fishing firms that the company controlled in secrecy.

Solar Fish is a company that has previously been at the center of trade finance fraud that went above $5 billion. Now caught up in this new scandal, there is a risk of deep reprehension.

The $354.5 million the company received from the six parties was exchanged between Jan. 28, 2013 and Feb. 5, 2013, with a strong chance this was from the sales of a pollock and herring catching firm, now known as Russian Fishery Company (RFC).

cryptocurrency-300x200A report compiled by the leading cryptocurrency intelligence firm, CipherTrace, gives details about the current state of major crypto-based criminal activity. Main highlights of this report include the increase in cross-border crypto payments, Iran’s growing interest in cryptocurrency as a means to sidestep sanctions, and the $356 million in cryptocurrency thefts in that quarter alone. These findings are an attempt to discover common trends in order to assist in developing future legislation against such corruptions.

CipherTrace is a well-known and highly-developed intelligence operation that works to build solutions for monitoring and regulating crypto-based fraud. CipherTrace is often used by leading exchanges, banks, investigators, regulators, and digital asset businesses in order to trace transactions and display compliance with current anti-money laundering regulations in hopes of building trust in the cryptocurrency economy. Their quarterly reports have become a vital data resource when it comes to monitoring and the legislation of crypto transitions.

CipherTrace’s report for this quarter shows a concerning trend involving cross-border crypto payments becoming untraceable as they leave U.S. exchanges after entering offshore locations. In twelve months the crypto transfers from the U.S. exchange to offshore exchanges grew 21 points or 46 percent when compared to the same period from two years before. These transactions fall out of U.S. awareness as they leave the exchange, making them blind spots that are highly difficult to monitor or regulate.

The software development company Informatica LLC f/k/an Informatica Corporation will pay $21.57 million to settle a case charging that it caused the government to be overcharged by providing false information about its commercial sales practices that was used in General Services Administration (“GSA”) contract negotiation.  Informatica is a software development company, headquartered in Redwood City, California that sells tools for establishing and maintaining data warehouses.

The case alleged Informatica allegedly knowingly provided false information concerning its commercial discounting practices for its products and services to resellers, who then used that false information in negotiations with GSA for government-wide contracts called “Multiple Award Schedule contracts.”   Under these contracts, GSA uses commercial pricing disclosures to negotiate the maximum prices that a vendor can charge government agencies.  Here, Informatica’s allegedly false disclosures caused GSA to agree to less favorable pricing, and, ultimately, government purchasers to be overcharged.  The settlement also resolves allegations that Informatica caused sales to the United States in violation of the Trade Agreement’s Act, which restricts the country of origin for goods purchased by the government.

“Companies seeking to participate directly or indirectly in government contracts must adhere to applicable rules designed to promote the United States’ objective of prudently expending taxpayer funds by negotiating fair and reasonable pricing for the goods and services it purchases,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu.  “We will pursue recoveries from those that fail to live up to these obligations.”

A growing number of Chinese companies are finding ways to evade President Donald Trump’s tariffs: remove the “Made in China” label by shifting manufacturing from China to countries such as Vietnam, Serbia, and Mexico. Chinese factories are moving abroad to skirt higher customs taxes on their exports to the United States and elsewhere, according to public filings. Hl Corp, a Shenzhen-listed bike parts maker, told investors it decided to move production to Vietnam.

On the coast near Ho Chi Minh City, dozens of factories import steel from China, galvanize it, strengthen it and then export it to the U.S. at prices that undercut American producers.

U.S. trade officials, however, say the companies and their Chinese suppliers are guilty of transshipping—routing goods through another country to illicitly disguise their origin.

AdobeStock_64352337-300x200In an emergency court order, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that they will be freezing all assets in relation to an alleged insider trading case. This case involved the oil-and-gas conglomerate Chevron Corporation and their intentions to acquire Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, which was reported to yield roughly $2.5 million in profits.

Chevron is a multinational energy corporation based in the United States. They announced that they intended to invest in outstanding shares of Anadarko, which is also based in the U.S. and sells petroleum. While the buying of shares warrants no action on its own, Chevron intended to acquire them for $65 per share in cash and stock. This type of investment would represent a 38 percent premium over Anadarko’s closing price pre-announcement.

The SEC complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York identified a series of transitions that could be considered suspicious. Days before the announcement, unknown traders allegedly used foreign brokerage accounts in the United Kingdom and Cyprus to purchase out-of-the-money call options through U.S. based brokerage firms and on U.S. based exchanges. After the announcement, Anadarko shares rose in price significantly. Brokerage account customers benefited greatly by either utilizing their right to gain large positions of Anadarko stock at a discount or selling many of the option contracts for profit.

VW-300x200Six years ago engineer Hemanth Kappanna stumbled upon Volkswagen’s diesel emission fraud, which later resulted in the car manufacturer paying a total of $33 billion to settle the charges. Kappanna eventually secured himself a position with G.M. which involved regular communication with the Environmental Protection Agency, but was let go from the company this year during an unexpected round of layoffs. Unable to find a new position within 60-days, Kappanna had to return to India after having lived in the United States for 17 years for his work and research.

Originally, Kappanna was pursuing his doctorate at West Virginia University when he received the opportunity to develop a proposal for a grant for his department of studies. The proposal he helped create involved testing the emissions of German cars equipped with diesel engines. At the time, testing the actual emission results from a moving vehicle was difficult. However, Kappanna and his team invented an innovative and accurate method to gather information about the emissions. It quickly became apparent that the emissions boasted by the German manufacturer, Volkswagen, were very inaccurate.

It was later discovered that Volkswagen had developed a software designed to falsify the results of their emissions, making them appear more favorable than they actually were. However, the real results were not even deemed passable based on environmental standards. Since emissions were not typically tested in real-time, Volkswagen likely never expected their software to be discovered. However, the company eventually admitted to the fraud and investigators later found that 11 million vehicles had been equipped with this software, including 600,000 which were sold in the United States.