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Financial whistleblower:

Daniel Schlicksup, an accountant who had been with Caterpillar Inc. for 16 years, tried to tell his bosses that it had illegally avoided more than $1 billion in taxes. No one seemed to listen.

Now, aided by documents provided by Schlicksup, the IRS, has determined that concluded in 2013 that Caterpillar had employed an “abusive” tax strategy; the agency later demanded $2 billion in back taxes and penalties. In 2014 a U.S. Senate investigative committee, with input from Schlicksup, questioned executives and determined that the company had avoided taxes on more than $8 billion in revenue.

whistleblower1-300x218eClinicalWorks, one of the country’s largest vendors of electronic health records will pay a $155 million to settle a whistleblower case where it is alleged that it caused health care providers to submit false claims to the federal government.

The acting U.S. attorney for Vermont said eClinicalWorks, of Westborough, Massachusetts, and three executives will pay the settlement to resolve allegations the company misrepresented the abilities of its software and paid kickbacks to some customers in exchange for promoting its products.

“Every day, millions of Americans rely on the accuracy of their electronic health records to record and transmit their vital health information,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler, of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, said in statement. “This resolution is a testament to our deep commitment to public health and our determination to hold accountable those whose conduct results in improper payments by the federal government.”

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Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS Group AG banker who became a whistleblower helping U.S. authorities prosecute the Swiss bank for tax fraud and who won a $104 million award, has now filed a libel lawsuit against  UBS over concerning statements he published last November and this month by the New York Post and Bloomberg BNA Daily Tax Report. Birkenfeld said UBS acted with actual malice by referring to his “often unsubstantiated” recollections in a recent book and having been “convicted in the U.S. for, among other things, having lied to the U.S. authorities.”He said UBS did this as part of an international campaign to impede his effort to expose its “decades-long wrongdoing,” and undercut the credibility and sales of his book “Lucifer’s Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy.”

The lawsuit  was filed in a New York state court in Manhattan and seeks $10 million of both compensatory and punitive damages. It also names Peter Stack, UBS’ head of media relations in the Americas, as a defendant. The New York Post and Bloomberg are not defendants.
Birkenfeld provided tips that led UBS in 2010 to pay a $780 million U.S. fine for helping about 19,000 wealthy Americans hide up to $20 billion in secret bank accounts. More recently, he testified in a similar probe involving the bank in France. Birkenfeld’s lawsuit stated that the Post clarified its article to show he was “never charged with or convicted of perjury or lying to U.S. investigatory authorities.”

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The Emperor of All Maladies, a book by Siddhartha Mukerjee M.D. a physician oncologist is subtitled a “biography of cancer”. Its an historical overview of the disease What caught my eye was the title of the book review of Dr. M’s book: “The Mind of a Disease.”  (NYT Sunday Book Review 11.14.10).When I read the title, I said to myself “aha, a book by a physician trying to understand the actual mind–the internal being of a disease, a metaphorical way of knowing the disease in order to understand it well enough to  manage or cure it. Dr. M’s book is not  that, but the author of the book review, a professor of medical journalism, does refer to this theme–the idea of trying to understand the way a disease thinks and interacts with human biological systems beyond the mere language of biochemistry or the lexicon of cell structure. It is much more. It is pattern and path recognition like the close study of a pitcher in baseball for the way he grips the laces of the baseball in his fingers and the flow and movement on release of the curve. It is more than just a tool for studying disease process. This way of seeing has alsobeen referred to within the field of data mining predictive modeling  in the study of the human genome. We are  beginning to decipher the workings and language of disease at the most basic levels and the early communications of chemicals as the disease begins the errant processes which have a logic and rationality as sure and straight as the logic of mathematics itself but in the form of cell growth and overgrowth as part of a normal process within us. Not the enemy, it is us untamed.

Obviously, the more we know about the normal bodily systems and cell functions, the more we can learn about abnormal processes and this systemic approach is now being individualized to the patient. I am not really speak about that.  I assume all of that. The core change is how do researchers  approach to understanding the mechanisms of Alzheimers disease. Assuming this is a process that is part of our cell functions but a form of mismanagement rather than an enemy to be conquered.

This week, there was an article in news about the melding of art and science in which the basic structures of life are being depicted by 3-D films  in ways that allow  researcher to understand the complex structures  and their interactions in different ways. This is another example of ways in which most basic mechanisms of life are coming to light in ways that will provide practical benefits in relative short order as it relates to disease treatment.

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Agility Public Warehousing Co. KSC (Agility), a Kuwaiti company, has agreed to Pay $95 million to settle  criminal, civil, and administrative cases arising from allegations that Agility overcharged the United States for food supply food for U.S. troops from 2003 through 2010.

The civil claims and criminal charges arose from allegations originally raised in a civil whistleblower suit against Agility and another Kuwaiti company, The Sultan Center Food Products Company, K.S.C. (TSC). Kamal Mustafa Al-Sultan, a former vendor of Agility, filed the lawsuit under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA), which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery. The Act also allows the government to intervene and take over the action, as it did in this case. Mr. Al-Sultan will receive $38.85 million as a result of the civil action he filed, which is captioned U.S. ex rel. Kamal Mustafa Al-Sultan v. Agility Public Warehousing Co., K.S.C. et al., No 1:05-cv-2968-GET (N.D. Ga.). The whistleblower was represented by the firm Moss & Gilmore LLP.

In its complaint, the United States alleged that Agility and TSC knowingly overcharged the Department of Defense for locally available fresh fruits and vegetables that Agility purchased through TSC, and falsely charged the full amount of TSC’s invoices despite agreeing that Agility would pay 10 percent less than the amount billed. The United States also alleged that Agility failed to disclose and pass through rebates and discounts it obtained from U.S.-based suppliers, as required by its contracts.

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Google co-founder Sergey Brin is  constructing a $100 million-plus blimp which would be used to transport supplies, food, medicine and other necessities to the needy around the world where other aircraft cannot reach.

The  blimp will use internal bladders to control its lightweight body, and helium — not hydrogen, will be the gas used to lift it.

Zeppelins were a very popular form of transportation in the 1930s, until the Hindenberg disaster in 1937.

whistleblower1-300x218The EB-5 investment program, known as the EB-5 visa-for-investment program, is demonstrating a dramatic spike in fraud  in  EB-5 projects. For example 2016 , the Securities and Exchange Commission brought enforcement actions against  $1 billion worth of fraudulent EB-5 projects. A majority of the fraud involved Chinese investors, including a $136 million EB-5 real estate project. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the EB-5 program resulted in $8.7 billion in foreign capital into the United States since 2012.

The SEC has a Whistleblower Program, in which private citizens may receive a reward for providing the SEC with original information about securities fraud, including EB-5 fraud. If the SEC uses a whistleblower’s information to bring a successful enforcement action, the whistleblower is eligible to receive 10% to 30% of the monetary sanctions collected as an award. One whistleblower received over $14 million for reporting EB-5 fraud.

Since the enactment of the whistleblower program, the SEC has paid more than $150 million to whistleblowers.

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Coffee is now being studied more closely by researchers who are seeing potential for significant disease prevention and therapeutics. They are trying to understand how the coffee and caffeine actually work within the cells as population studies show promise for therapeutics. Harvard researchers have done a study which indicates that drinking 1-3 cups of caffeinated coffee can reduce diabetes risk. The studies are looking back at data of 126,000 people over 18 years and not the more rigorous forward clinical studies but the trends are strong. Another study suggests that people who drink coffee regularly are 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. The evidence is also strong that the reported benefits of coffee is the caffeine content. Caffeine is a vasodilator and phosphodiasterase inhibitor. Parkinson’s drugs are now being develop which contain a derivative of caffeine, based on the evidence from research studies. Caffeine has also been seen to benefit asthma sufferers and headache sufferers possibly because it acts to dilate blood vessels. Drs. are now trying to understand why coffee demonstrate these benefits and how it acts on a cellular level.

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Gordon Shell, a retired professional cage fighter and now owner of a fighters gym in the Detroit area has now become a well known animal activist who is also adopting rescue dogs and volunteering at shelters. In addition, he now competes at charity bouts to raise funds for rescue organizations and humane societies. Shell also helped establish a toll-free hotline where people receive cash payments for tips about animal abuse leading to criminal convictions.

Now, Shell teamed up with a veterinarian and an animal behavior expert to renovate and improve conditions at animal shelters that do not comply with municipal building codes.

Shell said he started adopting rescue dogs and volunteering at shelters when he was an MMA fighter, which him to compete in charity bouts to raise money for rescue organizations and humane societies.Being bullied as a child inspired Gordon Shell’s dual passions for mixed martial arts and humane treatment of animals.

insider-trading-guys-300x200The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged four men  for alleged involvement in an insider trading scheme that used confidential government information regarding Medicare reimbursements From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Christopher Worrall, an employee at (CMS), allegedly gave confidential information to David Blaszczak, a former co-worker who later worked as a political intelligence analyst.

Worrall allegedly told Blaszczak three different times about pending CMS reimbursement decisions that could affect stock prices. Prosecutors allege that Blaszczak passed that information on to two hedge fund analysts who paid him as a consultant, Theodore Huber and Jordan Foge, who made $3.9 million from the insider trades.Mr. Blaszczak, a former employee at the agency and founder of Precipio Health Strategies, was accused of pumping a friend at the agency for market-moving information that he passed to his clients at Deerfield, an unsealed indictment said.In his interactions with the hedge fund partners, Mr. Blaszczak bragged about his access to the inside information. In an email message, he said his analysis differed from that of one of his competitors because that competitor “doesn’t know anyone at cms. His guesses are just wild random guesses,” according to a separate complaint filed by the SEC.Mr. Blaszczak  passed the information to his hedge fund clients, sometimes within minutes of the communications, prosecutors said.

The information involved tips about potential changes in government policy and regulations for things such as radiation therapy and kidney dialysis and how these policies would affect publicly traded companies.