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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

Volkswagen-300x199The United States has filed criminal charges against former Volkswagen CEO, Martin Winterkorn. He is accused of trying to cover up the fraudulent emissions tests in the VW diesel scandal.

The Charges

Winterkorn is facing conspiracy and wire fraud charges related to Volkswagen’s efforts to cheat on US diesel emissions tests. It’s rare for the CEO to be prosecuted for a company’s actions, according to Reuters.

CBSA-300x200The impending tariffs that will be put in place by the Trump administration on aluminium and steel are already being illegally circumvented by some Canadian companies. In the hopes of stopping the smuggling of cheaper metals, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced regulatory changes to prevent this type of crime.

Smuggling Concerns

The Prime Minister of Canada has said he was aware of concerns that countries facing the tariffs could try to ship supplies through Canada and then act as if metals had been produced in his country.

Jay-Z-to-testify-300x225A federal judge has ordered Jay-Z to testify as part of an SEC investigation. The rapper, whose real name is Shawn Carter, must testify next week relating to the decade old sale of his clothing brand.

Unanswered Subpoenas

Apparently, Jay-Z has failed to respond to two SEC subpoenas. The judge noted the SEC investigation has been delayed for 5 months because of his inaction. The ruling came just days after the SEC filed a request for an order seeking to enforce the subpoenas.

Visa-changes-300x200More than 70,000 H-1B visas holders could be in for a shock over the coming months. The Trump administration is working to end an Obama-era provision that had a significant impact on highly skilled Indian workers.

The Change

Under the current rule, an H-4 is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders. A large amount of H-1B visa holders are Indian workers and had to obtain work permits under a special order issued by the previous administration. New proposed changes will mean these dependents of H-1B visa holders might not be allowed to work in the US. The current administration wants to end the work permits given to spouses of H-1B visa holders.

Medicare-fraud-300x200Fake Treatments and Paperwork Lead to Arrest in Medicare Fraud Case

A physician has been indicted for stealing nearly $1 million in Medicare fraud scheme that also included private insurance. Dr. Pranav Patel, of the Chicago area, allegedly submitted fake insurance claims for medical tests and exams that were never conducted.

The Scam

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

charter-school-fraud-300x214One of Ohio’s largest online charter schools is facing some serious allegations from a former employee. The whistleblower claims, Electronic Classroom for Tomorrow, purposely inflated attendance figures tied to its state funding.

The Investigation

Education regulators are reviewing the allegations. Last year, the former technology employee told the Department of Education that “school officials ordered staff to manipulate student data with software obtained following the state’s demand that it return $60 million in overpayments for the 2015-2016 school year.” This according to WCPO in Cincinnati.

Panasonic Avionics Corporation has agreed to pay a $137.4 million criminal penalty to settle charges arising out of a scheme to retain consultants for improper purposes and conceal payments to third-party sales agents, in violation of the accounting provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The company, based in Lake Forest, California, designs and distributes in-flight entertainment systems and global communications services for airlines and airplane manufacturers.  According to court documents, PAC knowingly and willfully caused Panasonic to falsify its books and records with respect to its retention of consultants for improper purposes.  The consultants, which did little or no actual consulting work for PAC, were retained through a third-party service provider and were paid for out of a budget over which a senior PAC executive had complete control and discretion, without meaningful oversight by anyone at PAC or Panasonic.  One such individual was offered the consulting position by PAC at the time that he was employed by a state-owned airline and involved in negotiating a lucrative contract amendment on behalf of the airline with PAC.  According to court documents, that consultant was subsequently paid $875,000 by PAC over a six-year period and PAC earned over $92 million in profits from portions of the contract over which the consultant had some involvement or influence while employed with the airline.  PAC admitted that it mischaracterized these payments as “consultant payments” on its general ledger, which it knew caused Panasonic to incorrectly designate those payments as “selling and general administrative expenses” on Panasonic’s books, records, and accounts.

PAC also admitted that employees in its Asia region concealed PAC’s use of certain sales agents, which did not pass the Company’s internal diligence requirements.  According to admissions and court documents, PAC formally terminated its relationship with these sales agents, as required by its compliance policies, but PAC employees then secretly continued to use the agents by having them rehired as sub-agents of another company, which had passed PAC’s due diligence checks.  Through this process, PAC employees hid more than $7 million in payments to at least 13 sub-agents.By mischaracterizing the payments made to consultants and sales agents and providing false or incomplete representations and Sarbanes-Oxley subcertifications to Panasonic about PAC’s financials and financial controls, PAC caused Panasonic to falsify its books, records, and accounts in violation of the FCPA.PAC entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in connection with a criminal information, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, charging the company with one count of knowingly and willfully causing the falsification of the books, records, and accounts of its parent company Panasonic.  As part of the DPA, PAC will pay a total criminal penalty of $137,403,812.  PAC also agreed to continue to cooperate with the department’s investigation, enhance its compliance program, implement rigorous internal controls and retain an independent corporate compliance monitor for at least two years.

In a related proceeding, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a cease and desist order against Panasonic, whereby the company agreed to pay approximately $143 million in disgorgement to the SEC, including prejudgment interest.  Thus, the combined total amount of U.S. criminal and regulatory penalties to be paid by Panasonic and PAC is over $280 million.

Canada Drugs, an online Canadian pharmacy is expected to be fined $34 million for importing counterfeit cancer drugs and other unapproved pharmaceuticals into the United States. The company has filled millions of prescriptions. U.S. prosecutors assert Canada Drugs’ business is based on illegally importing unapproved and misbranded drugs not just from Canada, but from all over the world. The company earned about $78 million through illegal imports, including two that were counterfeit versions of the cancer drugs Avastin and Altuzan that had no active ingredient, prosecutors said.

Canada Drugs also will permanently cease the sale of all unapproved, misbranded and counterfeit drugs and will surrender all of the domain names for the myriad websites it used to sell the drugs, under the deal.Federal prosecutors wrote in court documents that the recommended sentence is appropriate.“The United States believes that the above-referenced sentence in an appropriate one reflecting the seriousness of Thorkelson’s conduct, the need for just punishment and adequate deterrence to future criminal conduct,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Spraker and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Joseph wrote.

The case is being handled in the U.S. state of Montana, where Canada Drugs bought another company for its drug inventory and customer list when it was expanding in 2009. Canada Drugs continued to deposit money into that company’s Montana bank account from doctors’ purchase of the illegally imported drugs before the proceeds were shipped to offshore accounts in the Caribbean, prosecutors said.

Dun & Bradstreet firm will pay $9.2 million to securities regulators to settle charges by the S.E.C. that its subsidiaries in China made unlawful payments to win or keep business from 2006 through 2012.The S.E.C. the illegal payments weren’t properly recorded in the company’s books and the company’s accounting controls were too weak to detect the problem.

Dun & Bradstreet terminated 11 people involved in the misconduct, disciplined others and will pay the SEC “the full amount of disgorgement” determined by the securities regulator. The SEC said the company will pay $6.1 million of profit gained via its misconduct, interest of $1.1 million and a penalty of $2 million, bringing the total to $9.2 million.

Dun & Bradstreet didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing. The company confirmed it resolved matters with the SEC and said it takes seriously its obligation to run its business legally and responsibly.