Archive for May, 2014

Commodity Future Trading Commission Announces First Whistleblower Award

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Photo Credit: CFTC Website

On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, the Commodity Future Trading Commission (“CFTC”) announced that it would be making its first award to a whistleblower who reported a fraud through the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program.  A $240,000 award will be made an an anonymous whistleblower who brought valuable information regarding violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.  The CFTC’s Whistleblower Program was established in 2010 and is intended to reward individuals who provide information leading to CFTC enforcement actions which result in more than $1 million monetary sanctions.  The program has several unique aspects, including making awards based on information provided to the CFTC even if another agency ultimately collects the sanctions, and allowing a whistleblower to file his complaint anonymously.

If you believe you know of violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and would like more information about filing a CFTC complaint, please contact James Hoyer for an evaluation of your claims.  Click here for more information about the firm and to submit your information electronically, or you may contact our office by phone at 813-397-2300.

From the CFTC Whistleblower website:

CFTC Issues First Whistleblower Award

Washington, DC — Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Acting Chairman Mark Wetjen announced today that the agency will make its first award to a whistleblower as part of the Commission’s Whistleblower Program created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The person will receive approximately $240,000 for providing valuable information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.

“I am pleased to announce this first award which illustrates that the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program is a valuable resource for the American public. Information received under the Whistleblower Program helps the agency better protect market participants and the public through successful enforcement actions,” said CFTC Acting Chairman Wetjen.

Acting Director of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement Gretchen Lowe said, “Here, the whistleblower provided specific, timely and credible information that led to the Commission bringing important enforcement actions. The CFTC’s Whistleblower Program is attracting high-quality tips and cooperation we might not otherwise receive and is already having an impact on the Commission’s enforcement mission.”

Christopher Ehrman, the Director of the Whistleblower Office, said that the number of high quality tips, complaints and referrals received continues to increase. “Our Whistleblower Program is a necessary enforcement tool for the agency, and my hope is that this award will send the strong message that the CFTC will pay for information that helps us do our jobs.”

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program provides monetary awards to persons who report violations of the Commodity Exchange Act if the information leads us to an action that results in more than $1 million in monetary sanctions. Whistleblowers are eligible for 10 to 30 percent of monies collected. The CFTC can also pay awards based on monetary sanctions collected by other authorities in actions that are related to a successful CFTC action, and are based on information provided by a CFTC whistleblower. The Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower provisions also prohibit retaliation by employers against employees who provide the CFTC with information about possible violations, or who assist us in any investigation or proceeding based on such information.

To learn more about the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program and how to provide a tip, visit Consumer Protection at CFTC.gov.

 

Medicare Fraud: Feds Charge 90-plus People for $260 Million in False Claims

More than 90 individuals were charged on Tuesday in a nationwide crackdown against what investigators said was massive fraud in federally administered health-care programs.

The defendants were charged with submitting more than $260 million in fraudulent claims to the Medicare system. They included 27 medical professionals, including 16 physicians, who prosecutors say breached the public trust in pursuit of easy money.

The arrests took place in Miami; Tampa, Fla.; New York; Detroit; Houston; and Los Angeles.

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Tenet Healthcare Corp. pays $5 million to settle False Claims Act

A whistle-blower lawsuit, which was settled for $5 million and dismissed, had accused Tenet of paying kickbacks to doctors in return for patient referrals to its hospitals.

 

 

 

dchang@MiamiHerald.com

 

Tenet Healthcare Corp., owner of four Miami-Dade hospitals, paid $5 million in December to settle a South Florida whistle-blower lawsuit alleging that the company paid kickbacks to doctors by allowing them to lease offices at below-market rates, among other favorable terms, in return for patient referrals — a violation of federal and state laws.

To settle the False Claims Act case, Tenet paid $4 million to the federal government — with $1 million of that going to the South Florida landlord who was the whistle-blower in the case — and an additional $1 million for legal fees and other costs. Tenet admitted no wrongdoing.

“There’s clearly a potential concern if a doctor is getting incentives from healthcare providers, whether that translates into that doctor doing more business with them, referring more patients to them, and on and on,” said Sal Barbera, a healthcare services administration professor at Florida International University and a former whistle-blower in a separate False Claims Act lawsuit filed against Tenet in 1997.

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