VA Whistleblower Accuses Agency of Improper Spending on Federal Charge Cards

VA Whistleblower Accuses Agency of Improper Spending

VA Whistleblower Accuses Agency of Improper Spending

Members of a congressional subcommittee were not happy with testimony last week from senior officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at a hearing looking into improper use of federal charge cards.

The hearing was called because of a whistleblower’s 35-page letter that claimed the VA illegally spent up to $6 billion a year through improper use of purchase cards. According to the letter writer, Jan Frye, VA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Logistics, the practice had been going on for years, KUSA-TV (Denver) reports.

House members of the committee were angry over allegations of widespread use of purchase cards in violation of federal regulations. Committee members faulted high-level VA officials for failing to take long-standing complaints seriously, the Washington Post reports.

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DaVita HealthCare Partners Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit for $495 Million

DaVita HealthCare Partners Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit

DaVita HealthCare Partners Settles Whistleblower Lawsuit

DaVita HealthCare Partners has announced that it will pay up to $495 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit. The Denver company is accused of defrauding the federal Medicare program of millions of dollars.

The company, which is not admitting any wrongdoing, has now settled its third whistleblower lawsuit since 2012. DaVita’s payouts total nearly $1 billion, the Denver Post reports.

The civil suit was filed in Atlanta in 2011 and involves a claim by DaVita employees Dr. Alon J. Vainer and nurse Daniel D. Barbir that DaVita was throwing out medicine and but billing Medicare and Medicaid for it according to legal documents. Vainer and Barbir said in court filings that they questioned DaVita about the waste and claimed the company submitted fraudulent claims for reimbursement between 2003 and 2010, according to the Post. In a statement, DaVita Kidney Care CEO Javier Rodriguez said, “Our 67,000 teammates across 11 countries look forward to putting this behind us. We can now renew our focus on collaborating with regulators to avoid situations like this going forward.” DaVita announced the settlement in an April 15 Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

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SEC Awards More than $600,000 in Whistleblower Retaliation Case

SEC Awards $600,000+ in Whistleblower Retaliation Case

SEC Awards $600,000+ in Whistleblower Retaliation Case

For the first time, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awarded a whistleblower a share of the money his employer must pay in a settlement for improper trading and for retaliating against the employee for reporting the conduct.

The former employee of Paradigm Capital Management Inc. was awarded 30 percent of the money, over $600,000, according to the SEC. The SEC did not name the whistleblower, but a person familiar with the matter identified him as former head trader James Nordgaard, the Wall Street Journal reports. In 2014 the SEC charged the hedge fund advisory firm with engaging in prohibited principal transactions and then retaliating against Nordgaard for reporting the activity to the SEC. Paradigm is based in Albany, New York. Paradigm’s owner, Candace King Weir, was charged with causing the improper principal transactions. She agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle the charges, neither admitting nor denying wrongdoing.

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Former JC Penney Employee Files Arbitration Lawsuit Against the Retailer

Former JC Penney Employee Files Arbitration Lawsuit

Former JC Penney Employee Files Arbitration Lawsuit

A former part-time employee of JC Penney has filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that his former manager and the company itself retaliated against him after he publicly stated that the company fleeced its customers.

Between 2007 and 2009, the whistleblower was employed part-time in the custom decorating department in the Penney’s St. Petersburg, Florida, store. He was then again employed part-time by the company between August 2012 and July 2013. The whistleblower claims that his former manager and top company officials retaliated against him after he complained that the store was overcharging customers, according to Fortune.

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Two Courts Reject Previous Ruling about ‘Public Disclosure Bar’ in Whistleblower Lawsuits

‘Public Disclosure Bar’ in Whistleblower Lawsuits ruling rejected

‘Public Disclosure Bar’ in Whistleblower Lawsuits ruling rejected


An potential obstacle for whistleblowers looking to file a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act (FCA) is “public disclosure bar”. This bars a whistleblower from suing if information is “based upon the public disclosure of allegations or transactions” in specific ways, including a government “report, hearing, audit, or investigation,” If the whistleblower is the original source of that information, then this does not apply. In 1999, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that “public disclosure” includes information given to a “competent government official” and “publicly disclosed”. This can be an issue for whistleblowers if information was disclosed to the government but never available to the general public.

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Medtronic Makes Final Payment in $11.1 Million Settlement over Kickbacks Lawsuit

Medtronic Makes Final Payment in $11.1 Million Settlement

Medtronic Makes Final Payment in $11.1 Million Settlement


Medtronic made a final payment of $362,000 in the $11.1 million settlement of a lawsuit alleging that the company used illegal kickbacks to influence doctors to use its cardiac rhythm products. According to Mass Device, the whistleblower lawsuit was filed in 2009 by a former business development manager. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the whistleblower will receive approximately $1.7 million.

The lawsuit accused Medtronic of compensating physicians to speak at conferences and developing marking and business plans at no cost. The company even gave them free tickets to sporting events, restaurants and strip clubs, the suit alleges. The whistleblower is a former business development manager, according to Mass Device.

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Perceived Whistleblower in Washington State Awarded $1 Million

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Whistleblower in Washington State Awarded $1M

Whistleblower in Washington State Awarded $1M

A man who was perceived as a whistleblower has been awarded $1 million. The jury verdict, which was issued on March 26, 2015, was issued after finding that the man’s demotion was a retaliatory action by his employer. The plaintiff in the case works for the Washington State Ferry System as a carpenter shop foreman. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff became aware of a co-worker allegedly using a state-owned vehicle to attend baseball games and practices during work hours. He reported this information to his supervisor, who said he would investigate the issue, but did not.

Another person, not the plaintiff, filed an anonymous whistleblower complaint two months later regarding the same issue. Following the complaint, the plaintiff was allegedly subject to retaliatory actions, including performance-related warnings. The co-worker reportedly using the state-owned vehicle was suspended after a year-long investigation, but the plaintiff was still demoted. The demotion was supposedly for performance issues, but the plaintiff alleges that this was retaliation. The jury agreed, and awarded the verdict in his favor after finding that his employer violated the Washington State Employee Whistleblower Protection Act.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit under the Washington State Employee Whistleblower Protection Act. This act protects both actual and “perceived” whistleblowers, defined as “[a]n employee who is perceived by the employer as reporting, whether they did or not, alleged improper governmental action … .”) The jury found that the plaintiff was viewed as a whistleblower and suffered subsequent retaliation.

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Senate Panel Approves Auto Industry Whistleblower Program

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Senate Panel Approves Auto Industry Whistleblower Program

Senate Panel Approves Auto Industry Whistleblower Program

On Thursday, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee unanimously backed legislation that would offer whistleblower incentives to employees in the automobile industry. Reuters reports that all 12 Republican and Democrat members voted in favor of the legislation, sending it to the floor of the Senate. The measure follows recent safety concerns with automakers, including defective General Motors Co ignition switches and Takata Corp air bag inflators.

There is no definitive vote date thus far, said an aide to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. If the full chamber votes in favor of the bill, it would then be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Maine Agrees to Pay $142,000 to Whistleblower who Allegedly Faced Retaliation for Refusing to Shred Public Documents

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Maine Agrees to Pay $142,000 to Whistleblower

Maine Agrees to Pay $142,000 to Whistleblower


A former division director for the Maine Center for Disease Control is to receive $142,000 to settle her whistleblower lawsuit. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services released the settlement agreement on Friday. According to Sun Journal, the whistleblower alleges that she suffered harassment and retaliation for refusing to shred public documents.

The documents were related to funding the Health Maine Partnerships programs, Sun Journal reports. In April 2013, the whistleblower filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission alleging that her bosses ordered her to shred these documents, along with other things.

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Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses NantHealth of Fraud

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Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses NantHealth of Fraud

Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses NantHealth of Fraud


Health technology firm NantHealth is facing a lawsuit filed by two former executives alleging the company committed fraud. According to the New York Times, the wrongful-termination lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Panama City, Fla.

NantHealth’s system is meant to link patient information using different medical devices and pieces of hospital equipment. The company is owned by a billionaire surgeon and business entrepreneur whose business relationships have been scrutinized in the past. Over a decade ago, NYT reported that the surgeon headed a drug company with financial ties to Premier; the major purchaser of supplies for hospitals nationwide is not supposed to have such conflicts of interest.

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Arguments in Katrina Whistleblower Case Appeal Scheduled for February

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Whistleblower_Advisor_Arguments_Katrina_Whistleblower_Case_Appeal_for_FebruaryOral arguments have been scheduled for February in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.’s appeal of an order that it pay legal fees and damages of $3 million in a whistleblower lawsuit. The jury found the insurer defrauded the government in a claim after Hurricane Katrina.

The case was brought in 2006 by Cori and Kerri Rigsby, sisters from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, who worked for an Alabama contractor that provided damages assessments to State Farm after the August 2005 hurricane, The Associated Press (AP) reports.
In 2013, a jury found that State Farm avoided covering a policyholder’s wind losses by categorizing it as water damage from the storm surge, which is covered by federal flood insurance.

The sisters pursued cases for a number of policyholders, but only one came to trial, the case of Thomas and Pamela McIntosh. The McIntoshes lost their Biloxi, Mississippi, home to the storm. The sisters allege State Farm defrauded the McIntoshes by manipulating engineers’ reports so claims could be denied, according to the AP. The Rigsbys also alleged that State Farm’s fraud against the National Flood Insurance Program was widespread along the Mississippi coast.

State Farm says it correctly assessed the McIntoshes’ damage and never instructed its adjusters to wrongly process claims as flood damage, nor did it withhold a report that showed the home had been destroyed by wind as the Rigbys alleged.

At State Farm’s direction, the flood insurance program paid the Macintoshes the policy limits of $250,000, the AP reports. State Farm initially paid the couple $36,000 for wind damage on a policy that provided more than $500,000 in coverage, according to court documents.

U.S. District Judge Halil S. Ozerden ordered State Farm to pay $750,000 in damages to the government. Under the federal False Claims Act, a whistleblower law dating back to the Civil War, individuals may sue on behalf of the government and receive a portion of funds recovered if the case is successful. If damages are upheld on appeal, the Rigsbys will each receive 15 percent of the $750,000 judgment, according to the AP.

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National Law Firm, Parker Waichman LLP, Seeks Increased Transparency and Ethics from the Pharmaceutical Industry in the New Year

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In the new year, Parker Waichman LLP hopes for increased testing, safety, and efficacy in the processes and promotions used by Big Pharma so that consumers may be confident that they are receiving safe and effective medications that were ethically developed, tested, and marketed.

Parker Waichman, a national law firm that has long been an advocate for victims of defective medications is urging the pharmaceutical industry, as we approach a new year, to step up the ways in which it develops, tests, inspects, and markets medications.

In the new year, Parker Waichman is seeking increased transparency and accountability from all drug makers, with the hope that patient welfare is made the key priority and placed before drug approval activities and profits.

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