Whistleblower Alleges Travel Promotion Entity Engaged in Kickback Schemes Fraud

The former vice president (VP) of operations for Brand USA has filed a lawsuit against the firm alleging that the travel promotion company engaged in “kickback schemes” through its Visit California and Visit Florida promotions, and others, as well as fraud.

The former VP alleges that Brand USA inked marketing agreements with partners that depended on the company to reimburse their donations to the firm at a minimum of 130 percent through advertising and services that supported partners’ existing ad campaigns and even the partners’ own advertising agencies in order to meet budgetary goals and qualify for more federal matching funds, according to Skift.com.

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

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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National Whistleblower Appreciation Day Recognizes Whistleblower Contributions

Last year, by a unanimous resolution, the United States Senate declared July 30, 2013 “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.”

The resolution was unanimous, according to the National Whistleblower Center, which also indicated that it “strongly supports” the move, which it described as historic. All Americans were asked to consider the huge contributions that whistleblowers have made to the country’s democracy and the costs and suffering whistleblowers have withstood.

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Whistleblower Cases Involving Allegations of Omnicare Swapping Scheme Settled for $124 Million

Omnicare, Inc., one of the largest pharmacy providers, has just agreed to a $124 million settlement to resolve whistleblower allegations regarding a swapping scam that involved below cost discounts and Medicare and Medicaid nursing home patients.

In late June, the Department of Justice announced that it settled with Omnicare, Inc. concerning two qui tam whistleblower cases involving allegations over kickbacks from discounts offered to skilled nursing homes for Medicare and Medicaid patients. The scheme was put in place to encourage facilities to choose Omnicare as their pharmacy provider.

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SEC Award: $875 Million to be Split Between Two Whistleblowers

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a whistleblower award of more than $875,000 to be equally split between two whistleblowers who provided tips and assistance to the agency.

The SEC’s whistleblower program was authorized by the Dodd-Frank Act and allows for the providing of financial rewards for what the SEC deems to be high-quality, original information that leads to an enforcement action by the SEC. At least $1 million in sanctions must occur, according to Corporate Crime Reporter, and awards to whistleblowers range from 10 to 30 percent of the total money collected. The SEC must protect whistleblower confidentiality and is prohibited from disclosing information that may directly, or indirectly, reveal the whistleblower’s identity.

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Millburn, New Jersey, Ordered to Pay $455,000 to Settle Whistleblower Case

An Essex County jury just ordered Millburn, New Jersey to pay $455,000 to settle whistleblower retaliation claims brought by a former police sergeant.

The former sergeant alleged that township officials had retaliated against him for his having reported that a superior officer failed a firearms test, according to NJ.com. The jurors accepted the whistleblower’s argument that Millburn officials retaliated against him by putting him through a criminal investigation as well as withholding his promotion and removing him from his position as a firearms range master.

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Whistleblowers Faced with Growing Retaliation

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Reports suggest that corporate whistleblowers are faced with increased retaliation, Corporate Counsel reports. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has began an aggressive lobbying campaign against the False Claims Act, the law that allows whistleblowers to file lawsuits on behalf of the government when they have knowledge of wrongdoing.

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Fired Air Marshal’s Whistleblower Case Weighed by Supreme Court

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On Tuesday, most of the Supreme Court justices appeared to agree with a fired air marshal who blew the whistle on the Transportation Security Administration, The New York Times reports. The Court is weighing whether or not he is protected by federal whistleblower laws.

The air marshal was secretly briefed about a terrorist threat affecting long-distance flights in 2003. He was contacted via text message by the TSA two days later stating that the assignments were canceled in order to save on costs. He complained about this action to his superiors, saying that it posed a threat to the public. When no action was taken, he contacted a reporter for MSNBC. The travel policy was reversed as a result of the news coverage.

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In Trinity Guardrail Case, Whistleblower Awarded $175 Million

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In a lawsuit alleging over Trinity’s allegedly defective ET-Plus guardrail systems, a Texas jury awarded $175 million to a whistleblower who roadtripped across the country in order to document injuries and deaths that occurred in relation to this defect. After deliberating for several hours in the U.S. District Court of in Marshall, Texas, jurors found that Trinity defrauded the government when it changed the design of its guardrail systems without informing regulators.

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SEC Awards Record $30 Million to Whistleblower

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On Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it is awarding over $30 million to a foreign whistleblower, the largest award to date. The payout is more than double the highest previous award since the program began in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Whistleblower Claims that CDC Covered Up Link between Vaccines and Autism

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A whistleblower claims that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) manipulated data to cover up a higher rate of autism in African-American boys. The whistleblower caught the attention of Dr. Brian Hooker, who is part of Focus Autism Foundation, an anti-vaccine group.

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Community Health Systems Agrees to Pay $98 million to Settle Whistleblower Claims

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Community Health Systems, Inc., the nation’s largest operator of acute care hospitals, has reached a $98.15 million settlement to resolve seven whistleblower lawsuits alleging that the company submitted false claims to government health care programs. According to the Charlotte Observer, CHS is based in Franklin, Tennessee and is affiliated with 206 hospitals in 29 states.

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