Articles Posted in whistleblower

Medicaid fraudWaveney Blackman, the owner of durable medical equipment company WaveCare Health services, has been charged with one act of healthcare fraud for filing claims to Medicaid for products that were never purchased through her business. Blackman pleaded guilty to these charges after one month and has been sentenced to 42 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $9.4 million, the sum of WaveCare’s proceeds from fraudulent claims.

During the years of 2010 to 2016, Blackman filed multiple claims to Medicaid for incontinence products, wound care supplies, and other pieces of durable medical equipment that resulted in revenue of $9.4 million. None of these products were ever given to Medicaid clients or even requested by one. These fraudulent claims were filed by Blackman herself, along with the assistance of her employees through a WaveCare biller.

Within one month of being charged, Blackman signed a plea agreement that detailed the illegal actions taken, as well as the proceeds she received from them. The government has seized a Mercedes, seven properties, and money traced to two separate bank accounts, and the judge ordered Blackman to pay the total of $9.4 million WaveCare reportedly received in fraudulent claims. She will also be sentenced to 42 months in prison.

CryptocurrencyThe Government of Bermuda plans to launch a cryptocurrency focused bank and further international support for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The news was announced by Bermuda Premier David Burt during a conversation with the BBC journalist Priya Patel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“I’m proud to say that next week we’ll be making an announcement revealing that a bank will be set up in the county that will start accepting crypto and blockchain companies,” said Burt.

Cryptocurrency Forward Thinking

According to an investigative report in the Wall Street Journal, the heavy tariffs imposed on Chinese goods has resulted in a large increase in tariff evasion schemes by Chinese companies seeking to sell their goods here.  Customs officials, importers and shipping brokers say that the tariff increases are being countered by unscrupulous Chinese manufacturers who are fraudulently shipping products here under false manufacturers codes and through trans-shipping and falsifying the actual country of origin, according to the Wall Street Journal. The result is that the tariffs are failing to protect. The tariff evasion using fraudulent product codes relates to 10-digit designation called an HTS code, of which there are 18,927. These codes are required to identify products and varieties. Unscrupulous manufacturers seeking to evade our tariffs send the products in with codes which designate products which are not on the tariff list.https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-u-s-china-trade-battle-spawns-a-new-era-of-tariff-dodges-1539009200?mod=hp_lead_pos5
One indicator of the misclassification increase is that there were 146 rulings in July, nearly triple the number six months earlier and this is considered the tip of the iceberg. In one example included in the WSJ article, a wood importer in Oregon received a call from a supplier asking if he would like some Chinese plywood tariff free. The importer asked how this would happen and the response was don’t worry about it as the plywood would not contain any Chinese markings and it would be shipped under some other code.
Diamond saw blades made in China now carry  82% tariffs.  In July, two California importers controlled by a Chinese manufacturer tried to dodge the tariff by coding diamond saw blades as grindstonesaccording to Customs. The maker, Danyang Like Tools Manufacturing Co., claimed independent of the California importers but  one of them told the agency Danyang was its owner. The California firms have disputed the charges.

pharmacy-fraud-300x200Massive Pharmacy Fraud Scheme Involved Bribes for Patient Information

A Florida man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for pharmacy fraud that involved $100 million in scams. The wide-reaching scheme impacted private insurance companies, and Medicare and TRICARE.

The Pharmacy Fraud

nccu-300x200North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is facing a lawsuit from one of its former vice chancellors. Benjamin Durant claims he was fired from his job after raising concerns about improper spending. He filed a whistleblower lawsuit against NCCU and its chancellor, according to the Raleigh News and Observer.

The Allegations

Durant says, after he raised concerns about Chancellor Johnson Akinleye’s luxury vehicle and that UNC Board of Governors members were trying to steer a multimillion-dollar campus housing contract to a Raleigh company, he was fired.

Russian WhistleblowerBeing a Whistleblower in Russia Comes with Life Altering Complications

Russia will not be at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games because of a massive doping conspiracy that came to light thanks to a native whistleblower.  Now, according to US News, that man is now living in exile and in fear for his life.

US News reports that Grigory Rodchenkov is the former head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory, he and some of his colleges turned whistleblower against Russia.  Rodchenkov’s allegations of state-sponsored doping and cover-up at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics lead to extensive investigations by both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee.

Foreign Soil SEC Corruption Cases Are Now Up Against a Ticking Clock

SEC corruptionA Supreme Court ruling, this summer, has put the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission against the clock to wrap up foreign corruption cases.  According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, the recent ruling may impact SEC corruption cases when it comes to international anti-bribery laws.

The Ruling

Kobe SteelKobe Steel Admits to Falsifying Data in Another Blow to Japanese Businesses

Kobe, in Japan, is most well-known internationally for its luxury beef industry.  But now the name of the port city may be marred in scandal.  The Economist reports that Kobe Steel has admitted to falsifying data regarding its aluminum, copper and steel products.  Kobe Steel is one of the oldest industrial firms in all of Japan and 3 days after the bombshell admission its stock had fallen by $1.6 billion.

The False Data

Sergei Pavlovich Roldugin, born on September 28, 1951, is a Russian cellist and businessman, whose name will be well known to history. Aside from winning awards in the 1980’s as a cellist, he later held a professorship at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory from 2002-2005. Then, he shifted his focus to become an oil and media businessman but probably better known as Vladimir Putin’s best friend and the “secret caretaker” of Putin’s hidden wealth. Roldugin is a godfather to to Maria Putin, Vladimir’s daughter. Roldugin introduced Putin to his first wife and Roldugin’s brother Yevgenywas at KGB training school with Putin.

In 2015, 11.5 million documents were leaked by an anonymous source. They were called the Panama Papers. The documents belonged to a Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.The leaked documents contain personal financial information about wealthy persons and public officials which were previously secret. Shell corporations were used for illegal purposes, including fraud, tax evasion, and evading international sanctions. According to  journalists  working on the data  , Roldugin — or at least his name — appears to be involved in network of up to $2 billion from Russian state banks has been hidden in offshore shell companies.

According to the Panama papers, there are five offshore entities lined to Roldugin; Sonnette Overseas, International Media Overseas, Sunbarn, Raytar and Sandalwood Continental, Inc. The firms are linked to Bank Rossiya. Bank Rossiya, Russia’s 17th biggest lender, according to the Treasury, was founded in 1990 by Yury Kovalchuk, Vladimir Yakunin and Andrey Fursenko, three associates of Putin who are also on the U.S. sanctions list. Kovalchuk holds about 38 percent of the bank, according to a regulatory filing. AO Bank Rossiya, a St. Petersburg-based lender owned by associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, became the first financial institution to face U.S. sanctions over the Ukrainian crisis. The measure prohibits U.S. firms or individuals from doing business with Bank Rossiya, the U.S. Treasury said .. The firm has about $10 billion in assets, “numerous relationships” with banks in the U.S. and Europe, and was targeted because its owners are part of Putin’s inner circle.

Lafferty Enterprises doing business as Trans-Star Ambulance Services will pay $948,000 to resolve allegations  ambulance s that it filed fraudulent claims with the federal Medicare program. Medicare will only pay for an ambulance to take patients to and from dialysis if other forms of transportation pose a medical risk, and that was not the case in this instance, the government argued. This settlement is just one of scores of similar cases and recent Government allegations that ambulance companies are engaged in massive fraud by over-billing Medicare and Medicaid and also charging for services that are not allowed. In many instances, for example, the ambulance companies are billing for advanced care life support when the ambulance run does not provide advanced services.

As part of the settlement, Trans-Star will also have to undertake “substantial internal compliance reforms” and its claims will be reviewed by a third party for the next three years.

“It is vitally important that the resources available to federally funded healthcare programs be used only to pay for medically necessary services,” Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, said in a news release. “Our office and our agency partners are committed to protecting the integrity of these important programs on which so many of our citizens depend.”