Posts Tagged ‘whistleblower news’

Senator Grassley Praises the False Claims Act

Senator Chuck Grassley

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley praised the False Claims Act today on the 237 year anniversary of the passage of the country’s first whistleblower law.

On July 30, 1778, the Continental Congress passed the very first whistleblower law in the United States.  It read:

[I]t is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States . . . to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.

Whistleblowers have always been crucial in helping Congress and the federal Government route out fraud and misconduct.  It is simple common sense to reward and protect whistleblowers who report waste, fraud, and abuse.  The False Claims Act does that.

Senator Grassley also mentioned the recent decision by a Pennsylvania federal court judge to give a 24-percent award to Peggy Ryan, James Hoyer client and whistleblower in the Endo Pharmaceuticals case.  The Department of Justice had requested a lower award, despite Ryan’s extraordinary efforts in the case.  The judge and Senator Grassley were critical of DOJ’s stance:

Just recently the Justice Department tried to minimize a relator award in a Medicare and Medicaid fraud suit.  The relator contributed significantly to the case.  The Judge recognized that Congress intended that “the only measuring stick” for an award is “the contribution of the relator.”

That Judge was right.  Congress intended to empower, protect, and reward relators who identify fraud against the taxpayers.  History teaches us that weakening the relator’s rights weakens the government’s ability to fight fraud.  All that does is let wrongdoers off the hook and cost the taxpayers money.  That is not the result we intended with the False Claims Act.  It is also not the result the Continental Congress, so concerned about identifying “misconduct, frauds and misdemeanors,” would have wanted.

Senator Grassley spoke passionately about the value of whistleblowers and how their efforts help the American government and taxpayers:

In Fiscal Year 2014 alone, the federal Government recovered nearly $6 billion under the Act.  That makes more than $22 billion since January 2009, and more than $42 billion since 1986.  These recoveries represent victories across a wide array of industries and government programs.  Those programs include mortgage insurance, federal student aid, and Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Defense contracts.

The Department of Justice credits whistleblowers for their important role in this success.
According to the Justice Department, whistleblowers accounted for $3 billion in recoveries under the Act in Fiscal Year 2014.  In fact, over 80% of False Claims Act cases are initiated by whistleblowers.  Clearly the False Claims Act is working very well.

Of course, the Act has no shortage of critics—typically the groups where you find perpetrators of fraud.  But we have learned our lesson that a weak False Claims Act is not in the taxpayer’s best interest.

In 1943, Congress bowed to pressure to undo the Act’s crucial qui tam provisions.
Amendments passed back then barred actions where the Government already had knowledge of the fraud.  The result was to block nearly all private actions.  Congress assumed that the Justice Department could do a good job prosecuting fraud all by itself.  They were wrong.
Between 1943 and 1986, fraud against the Government skyrocketed.  Most of those accused went unpunished.

Click here to read the complete statement by Senator Grassley.

 

Health-Care False Claims Cases Reap $18.3 Billion, Report Shows

Whistleblower Award

Health-Care False Claims Cases Reap $18.3 Billion, Report Says

Stack Of CashFederal and state governments recovered $18.3 billion between 2008 and 2012 from lawsuits and criminal cases claiming health-care companies overbilled, according to an advocacy group that encourages whistle-blowers.

Taxpayers Against Fraud, a Washington-based group, released a study showing total health-care recoveries, excluding whistleblower payments, rose to $5.8 billion last year from $1.5 billion in 2008. Those totals include criminal fines and state false claims recoveries, two figures not normally tallied.

Still, recoveries are a small fraction of the $2.8 trillion the U.S. spends annually on health care, or 17.8 percent of the gross domestic product, according to the World Health Organization. Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican who sponsored a 1986 amendment that propelled the U.S. law forward, said the Justice Department should do more to deter companies than collect payments.

“Right now, it’s a cost of doing business,” Grassley said in an interview. “When it’s a cost of doing business, behavior isn’t going to change and criminal prosecution needs to be pursued. When you jail somebody, it makes a bigger point than any fine you’re going to get.”

The health-care recoveries involve dozens of companies, including Pfizer Inc. (PFE:US), the world’s biggest drugmaker; GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), the biggest U.K. drugmaker; Merck & Co. (MRK:US), the second-biggest U.S. drugmaker by sales; and McKesson Corp. (MCK:US), the largest U.S. pharmaceutical distributor. Many of the settlements involve corporate integrity agreements pledging compliance with the law.

29 States

Most cases were filed under the federal False Claims Act, the law that lets citizens sue on behalf of the government and share in any recovery. Twenty-nine states have similar laws. Most of the recoveries by the U.S. between 1987 and 2012 were in health-care cases, where the government recovered $24.1 billion, according to Justice Department statistics.

Between 2008 and 2012, the civil U.S. recoveries amounted to $9.4 billion, according to the Justice Department. The TAF report shows that criminal fines associated with false claims recoveries over the same period were $4.5 billion, while state recoveries were $4.4 billion. Taken together, the civil, criminal and state false claims recoveries account for the five-year total of $18.3 billion.

Whistle-Blowers

Whistleblowers over that period collected $1.4 billion beyond the $9.4 billion paid to the U.S. The law allows whistle-blowers to recover between 15 and 30 percent. Not every case settled by the U.S. was initiated by whistle-blowers.

The TAF report argues that the federal government recovers about 20 times more than it spends on investigations and prosecutions of health-care fraud cases.

Whistleblowing is increasing in other sectors, including finance and taxation. With programs in place at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, many more cases are coming, according to Patrick Burns, co-executive director of TAF.

“We are on the edge of a new era of incentivized integrity programs,” said Burns. “It takes a long time to investigate, negotiate and litigate these cases, but I think we will see billions recovered under these programs in the years ahead.”

If you believe you have information regarding fraud against the government and are considering bringing a False Claims Act case, 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 at 813-397-2300.

If you believe you have information regarding fraud against the government and are considering bringing a False Claims Act case, 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 at 813-397-2300. – See more at: http://www.jameshoyer.com/supreme-court-denies-cert-in-allison-engine-retroactivity-case/#sthash.PgY15ire.dpuf

 

 

Whistleblower Case Leads to Largest Settlement Ever with Generic Drug Maker

The generic drug maker Ranbaxy pleaded guilty on Monday to federal drug safety violations and will pay $500 million in fines to resolve claims that it sold subpar drugs and made false statements to the Food and Drug Administration about its manufacturing practices at two factories in India, the company and federal prosecutors announced Monday. The settlement is the largest in history involving a generic manufacturer and drug safety, the Justice Department said.

Click here to read more from the New York Times.