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The Whistlerblower Blog

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Presented by Hodgson Russ, the Whistleblower Blog is written by a team of lawyers experienced in successfully guiding both whistleblowers and companies accused by whistleblowers of wrongdoing through the False Claims Act process.

Showing 21 posts in Whistleblower Settlements.

Showdown Looming Over Whether Whistleblowers Can Use “Statistical Sampling” To Prove Fraud Claims And Increase Damages Award

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The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is poised to decide an issue that could dramatically affect the amount in damages that the U.S. Government and a whistleblower can prove and collect in a successful False Claim Act case.

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Topics: Whistleblower Settlements

IRS Whistleblowers Collect More Than $230 Million Over Three Years

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The IRS Whistleblower Award Program has paid over $230 million in awards over the last three fiscal years, according to its most recent report to Congress. The awards averaged over $650,000 each, and average about 18% of the amount collected in each case. The program received over 14,000 new claims during FY 2014. According to the report, the award program exists to provide whistleblowers with an incentive to report “significant tax noncompliance” to the IRS.

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Topics: Tax Fraud, Whistleblower Settlements

Government Asserts Right to Final Say in FCA Settlements

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A recent decision from the U,S. District Court for the District of Columbia illustrates the power of the government to block False Claims Act settlements between relators and defendants. United States ex rel. Landis v. Tailwind Sports Corp., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46140 (D.D.C. April 9, 2015) involves former professional cyclist Floyd Landis, who brought FCA violations against Lance Armstrong and other defendants, including Armstrong’s agents and their company, called Capital Sports and Entertainment. The case was based on Landis’s allegations that defendants submitted claims for sponsorship payments to the U.S. Postal Service while knowing that the team had been using performance-enhancing drugs in violation of the sponsorship agreement.  

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Topics: Other Government Fraud, Whistleblower Settlements

Adventist to Pay $5 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

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Radiation oncology provider Adventist Health System Sunbelt Healthcare Corporation has agreed to pay more than $5 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations that it provided “radiation oncology services to Medicare and TRICARE beneficiaries that were not directly supervised by radiation oncologists or similarly qualified persons,” according to a recent Department of Justice press release.

Adventist operates a large network of hospitals in the South and the Midwest. According to the release, “[r]adiation oncology services provided to patients served by Medicare and TRICARE, the Department of Defense’s health care program, must be directly supervised by a radiation oncologist or similarly qualified personnel.” The qui tam FCA case alleged that Adventist “violated this supervision requirement for radiation oncology services provided to federal health care program beneficiaries at several Florida locations, including in Altamonte Springs, Daytona Beach, Deland, Kissimmee, Orange City, Orlando, Palm Coast and Winter Park. These services included radiation simulation, dosimetry, radiation treatment delivery and devices, and intensity-modulated radiation therapy.”

The case had been initiated by a physician who had been employed as a radiation oncologist. The whistleblower will receive $1,082,500 as his relator’s share.

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Topics: Medicare & Medicaid Fraud, Whistleblower Settlements

Whistleblowers to Recover $2 Million in 'Worthless Services' FCA Case Against Nursing Home

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On October 10, 2014, the Justice Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) jointly announced that Extendicare Health Services Inc. (Extendicare) and its subsidiary Progressive Step Corporation (ProStep) agreed to pay $38 million to the United States and eight states for False Claims Act liability. Approximately $2 million of the total settlement amount will be awarded to the whistleblowers who revealed the fraudulent conduct at issue by bringing suit under the False Claims Act.

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Topics: Medicare & Medicaid Fraud, Whistleblower Settlements

SEC Encourages Would-Be Whistleblowers to Comply With Internal Reporting Programs First

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The Securities and Exchange Commission whistleblower program, which provides awards to certain whistleblowers who report securities laws violations to the SEC, encourages would-be whistleblowers to comply with internal reporting programs first. 

The SEC’s whistleblower rules do this in at least two ways. First, the SEC weighs the whistleblower’s participation in the firm’s internal compliance program as a factor that may increase the whistleblower’s eventual award. And the SEC considers interference with internal compliance programs to be a factor that may decrease any award. Second, the SEC’s whistleblower rules give the would-be whistleblower the benefit of the earlier date on which the internal compliance report was made, so long as the whistleblower makes his or her SEC filing within 120 days. In that situation, the SEC form requests a copy of the internal reporting. In these ways, the SEC encourages compliance with companies’ internal compliance programs, without sacrificing whistleblower reporting to the SEC.

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John Sinatra is a partner in the Business Litigation
Practice at Hodgson Russ LLP. You can reach him at jsinatra@hodgsonruss.com.

Topics: Whistleblower Settlements

Relators Win Right to Share of Proceeds Under False Claims Act

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In a recent False Claims Act case from the Eighth Circuit, Rille v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 6597 (8th Cir. April 10, 2014), the relators won an important victory against the government relating to their right to obtain a portion of the settlement proceeds of a claim under the act. Specifically, according to the act, if the government “intervenes” in a case brought by relators, relators are entitled to a portion “of the proceeds of the action or settlement of the claim.” 31 U.S.C. 3730(d)(1). But in Rille, the relators had to fight not only defendants, but also the government to get the recovery they were entitled to under the act. The Eighth Circuit – in no uncertain terms – sided with the relators.

Topics: Whistleblower Settlements

IRS Paid $53 Million to 122 Whistleblowers in 2013

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According to the IRS Oversight Board’s recent report to Congress, the IRS paid $53 million last year to 122 whistleblowers. This is an average of nearly $435,000 per whistleblower. The whistleblower awards last year average 14.6 percent of the amounts collected by the IRS. As noted in the report, the law requires the IRS to pay awards if the information provided “substantially contributes to the collection of tax, penalties, interest, and other amounts when the amounts in dispute are more than $2,000,000.” The award ranges are based on “percentages of the collected proceeds.” The law is designed to encourage people “with knowledge of significant tax noncompliance to provide that information to the IRS.” According to the report, the IRS “continues to receive submissions from whistleblowers, many of whom claim to have inside knowledge of the transactions they are reporting. They often provide extensive documentation to support their claims.”

John Sinatra is a partner in the Business Litigation Practice at Hodgson Russ LLP. You can reach him at jsinatra@hodgsonruss.com

Topics: Tax Fraud, Whistleblower Settlements

Another Banner Year for Recoveries Under the False Claims Act

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According to a press release from the Department of Justice, in fiscal year 2013, the government recovered $3.8 billion in settlements and judgments involving the False Claims Act. This is the second-largest annual recovery in history and brings total recoveries under the False Claims Act since January 2009 (when the act was significantly amended) to $17 billion. Additionally, the number of qui tam (or whistleblower) cases increased to 752 in 2013, which was 100 more than in fiscal year 2012. Recoveries in qui tam cases this year totaled $2.9 billion, with whistleblowers recovering $345 million.

Topics: Whistleblower Settlements

Hodgson Russ Helps Plaintiffs in Largest-Ever False Claims Act Settlement in Risperdal Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson

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The Justice Department announced last week that Johnson & Johnson will pay $1.273 billion to the federal government and most states to settle a civil False Claims Act investigation into its off-label marketing of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal. J&J will settle a criminal investigation into the matter for an additional $800 million.

Hodgson Russ is proud to represent two of the plaintiffs who blew the whistle on J&J. The team, led by Daniel C. Oliverio, included Joseph V. Sedita and Robert J. Fluskey, Jr.

Topics: Pharmaceutical Fraud, Whistleblower Settlements

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Hodgson Russ is one of only a few major law firms that represents both whistleblowers and companies accused by whistleblowers of wrongdoing. This unusual perspective means we are exceptionally well positioned to advise whistleblowers about potential claims.

We are not a "whistleblower mill" that pays little attention to the needs of its clients or the factual nuances of complex cases. Rather, we are a team of highly experienced lawyers that selects only the best cases, affording us the time and focus to become fully immersed in the factual and legal details necessary to bring cases to successful resolution.