Articles Tagged with Whistleblower Cases

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

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More than $4.7 billion in settlements and judgments from whistleblower cases involving fraud against the government were had in 2016 ending Sept. 30. Of the $4.7 billion recovered, $2.5 billion came from the health care industry, including drug companies, medical device companies, hospitals, nursing homes, laboratories, and physicians.    In many of these cases, the Department was instrumental in recovering additional millions of dollars for state Medicaid programs.

The next largest recoveries came from the financial industry in the wake of the housing and mortgage fraud crisis.  Settlements and judgments in cases alleging false claims in connection with federally insured residential mortgages totaled nearly $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2016 – the second highest annual recovery in this area.

Most false claims actions are filed under those whistleblower, or qui tam, provisions.  If the government prevails in the action, the whistleblower, also known as the relator, receives up to 30 percent of the recovery.  Whistleblowers filed 702 qui tam suits in fiscal year 2016, and the Department recovered $2.9 billion in these and earlier filed suits this past year.  The government awarded the whistleblowers $519 million during the same period.

Major defense contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has agreed to pay Uncle Same $6 million to settle allegations that it circumvented the bidding process allowing it to obtain lucrative contracts. The fraud and abuse in this case was brought forth by an active duty military officer who first reported his concerns up the chain of command but no one would listen. Airforce Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Ferner a career military man, was Chief of staff for the Coalition and irregular Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. SAIC was awarded a multi million dollar contract to help CIWC develop enhanced warfare capabilities in the fight against terrorism. Lt. Col Ferner became suspicious that the normal contract procedures were bypassed and found out about a middlemen used by SAIC to arrange for the contract. In addition, Lt. Col. Ferner witnessed waste and abuse and the more contractors that came in, the less work was done. Lt. Col. Ferner was told by his superiors to keep quiet and they threatened to deploy him to Afghanistan while he was undergoing cancer treatment. He was ultimately fired from his job and given a menial position with no responsibility. He was represented by the James Foyer Law Firm. This is a story worth telling. Some smart Hollywood producer should pick up as this man’s courage in the face of his own illness and his career for the sake of his nation and w=for what is right. Congress should take a look at what his superiors did and did not do in the face of this fraud and to encourage others to come forward. Where is Lt. Col. Ferner and why haven’t we heard more? Under the False Claims Act, he will receive a portion of the $6 million recovery but he lost his career in the military for his courage. Stay tuned. –

According to the Wall Street Journal, emails and other documents reviewed by the paper’s reporters reveal information uncovered by a tipster alleging that Glaxo’s China sales staff provided doctors with speaking fees, cash payments, lavish dinners and all expenses paid trips in return for prescribing the drug company’s products. Glaxo says it is looking into the matter. Like in the U.S., patients in China need a doctor’s prescription to buy regulated drugs and drug sales persons meet frequently with doctors to try to get them to prescribe products. However, unlike the U.S., the government controls all of China’s health care system so any purchased are through government paid physicians. Under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act it is illegal for companies with significant U.S. operations to bribe foreign officials or their agents in exchange for business. Whistleblower tipsters are now coming forward to be part of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new whistleblower program allowing the tipsters a reward of up to 30% of the moneys recovered. The Glaxo whistleblower says that between 2004 through 2010 Glaxo regularly gave cash to its sales staff in China and some of that went directly to doctors at Chinese hospitals in return for prescribing drugs from the company. Recently Glaxo settled a case with the U.S. Department of Justice relating to its drug marketing practices. Under the new SEC program, whistleblowers may come forward anonymously through counsel, thereby protecting themselves. Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers. jeffrey.newman1@gmail.com. www.JeffreyNewmanLaw.com