Whistleblower Insider

Whistleblower Insider is written by the Constantine Cannon law firm team of experienced qui tam and whistleblower lawyers. It is updated daily to provide the latest whistleblower and fraud news and developments.
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March 2, 2015

In Their Own Words

– “I was piggy. But I’m not that person anymore.”

L. Dennis Kozlowski, the Tyco executive convicted in 2005 for looting nearly $100 million from the company, who State parole officials informed last week that for the first time in nearly a decade he is entirely free of penal supervision. Click here for more.

March 2, 2015

Monthly Roundup — February 2015

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Here is our look-back at the key whistleblower and fraud developments we have written about over the past month:

FEATURED POSTS AND COMMENTARY

This month’s featured posts and commentary included: DOJ Gets Failing Marks For Treatment Of FBI Whistleblowers (here); New York AG Proposes Financial Frauds Whistleblower Act (here); Seventh Circuit Gives Broad Read To What Constitutes A “Referral” Under Anti-Kickback Statute (here); War On Whistleblowers Continues To Sink United States World Press Freedom Ranking (here); Does the FDA Hide Evidence of Clinical Fraud? (here); Department of Defense Moves To Bar Anti-Whistleblower Confidentiality Provisions (here); Fourth Circuit Joins Other Circuits In Narrow Read of Public Disclosure Bar (here).

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February 27, 2015

In Their Own Words

– “Of the 11 times in our entire history that the Espionage Act has been used against government workers sharing information with journalists, seven of them have been under this presidency.”

Jon Stewart on the February 26, 2015 airing of The Daily Show.  Click here for more.

February 27, 2015

Whistleblower News From The Inside

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Jon Stewart stands up for whistleblowers – On last night’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart ran a “Blazing Tattles” segment in which he criticized the Obama administration on its treatment of whistleblowers, including the administration’s use of the Espionage Act.  The Daily Show

Senate approves auto whistleblower bill —  A measure that would offer financial incentives for auto industry employees to expose safety defects won unanimous backing from a Senate panel yesterday. Reuters

GSK bribery scandal led to dramatic increase in whistleblower reports — A 15-month bribery investigation into GlaxoSmithKline by Chinese authorities has led to a dramatic increase in whistleblower reports from the company’s operation in China, receiving 652 whistleblower reports from China last year, a 13-fold increase from the 48 received in 2013.   Telegraph

Are companies “muzzling” corporate whistleblowers? — The SEC is probing whether companies are silencing corporate whistleblowers, which, depending on the findings, could lead to suggestions on policy revisions or even formal charges against the companies.  WSJ

Europe is “miles behind” the US in whistleblower laws —  Despite its flaws, the US has a common law tradition of protecting whistleblowers in addition to multiple statutory proscriptions, whereas the same number of avenues of protection do not exist in Europe.  Business Insider

Call from the IRS is fraud – A new scheme is afoot in which criminals call consumers pretending to be agents from the IRS and threatening arrest or legal action, unless the individual makes a payment quickly.   NYT

February 27, 2015

DOJ Catch Of The Week — MetLife Home Loans

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

This week’s Department of Justice “catch of the week” goes to MetLife Home Loans LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MetLife Inc.  On Wednesday, the Texas-based mortgage finance company agreed to pay $123.5 million to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act.  Specifically, the government charged that MetLife Bank knowingly originated and underwrote mortgage loans insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that did not meet applicable requirements.  MetLife Bank was a banking services company which in 2013 merged into MetLife Home Loans.  See DOJ Press Release.

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February 27, 2015

DOJ Gets Failing Marks For Treatment Of FBI Whistleblowers

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) this week released its much anticipated report on the Department of Justice’s treatment of FBI whistleblowers.  The GAO’s findings do not speak well of the government’s treatment of this particular class of intelligence whistleblower.  In short, the GAO found the DOJ has not properly handled complaints of FBI whistleblower retaliation; has not provided clear guidance on the proper channels through which these whistleblowers should report wrongdoing; and ultimately, has created a chilling effect for future FBI whistleblowers thinking about keeping their complaints within the agency.  Not exactly the kind of report that will dampen the recent rush of intelligence whistleblowers reaching out to the press.

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February 26, 2015

New York AG Proposes Financial Frauds Whistleblower Act

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today proposed legislation to protect and reward whistleblowers who report on fraud or misconduct in the banking, insurance, and financial services industries.  Titled the Financial Frauds Whistleblower Act, the law would be modeled after the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program and provide whistleblower rewards of 10-30 percent of any government recovery and offer concrete protections against whistleblower retaliation. It would fill a gap in New York’s whistleblower system by for the first time offering to protect and incentivize financial frauds whistleblowers. It would also be the first state to offer any kind of “mini” Dodd-Frank whistleblower program. See New York Attorney General Press Release.

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February 26, 2015

Seventh Circuit Gives Broad Read To What Constitutes A “Referral” Under Anti-Kickback Statute

By Gordon Schnell

Under the Anti-Kickback Statute, physicians may not solicit or receive kickbacks for referring Medicare patients to a particular healthcare provider. The question before the Seventh Circuit in United States v. Patel was the scope of what constitutes a referral under the statute. According to the Court, the scope is quite broad, even extending to situations where the physician plays no role in selecting the healthcare provider the patient ultimately uses.

The case involved Dr. Kamal Patel, a Chicago-area physician who routinely prescribes home health care services for his elderly patients. One such provider of these services, Grand Home Health Care, paid Patel for each of his patients who used Grand for home health care. The payment was tied to Patel’s signing the patient’s Form 485 which is the standardized Medicare form that certifies home care is medically necessary and outlines a patient’s diagnosis, medications, treatment plans and goals. Medicare will not reimburse for home health care services without a Form 485 signed by the prescribing physician. Grand paid Patel $400 for each signed Form 485 representing a new admission to Grand and $300 for each signed recertification (required if the home care lasts longer than the initial 60-day certification period).

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