Whistleblower Stories

Here are the stories of some whistleblowers who brought qui tam lawsuits and were represented by attorneys Phillips & Cohen. These whistleblowers exposed Medicare fraud, defense contractor fraud as well as financial fraud.

The decision on whether to file a False Claims Act (qui tam) lawsuit is never an easy one despite the reward and job protection the False Claims Act offers.

There are many factors for a person to consider, including the effect being a whistleblower will have on the his or her personal and professional lives. People who file qui tam lawsuits also have to be prepared to spend a tremendous amount of time and effort working on their cases.

But many people decide the risks of whistleblowing are worth taking because it’s the right thing to do or they fear that the fraud might result in someone getting injured or killed.

One of the best-written books about qui tam whistleblowers is Giantkillers: The Team and the Law That Help Whistle-blowers Recover America's Stolen Billion by Henry Scammell. The book focuses on several whistleblowers and their qui tam cases, a number of which were brought by Phillips & Cohen attorneys.

Below is a list of whistleblowers who were represented by Phillips & Cohen and links to published news stories about them or congressional testimony they provided.

  • Matthew Burke - a former sales executive for GlaxoSmithKline whom Phillips & Cohen represented along with another Glaxo whistleblower in a qui tam case alleging off-label marketing. Their whistleblower case was responsible for most of the $3 billion that Glaxo paid in 2012 to settle several qui tam cases and a related criminal charge. The Glaxo settlement is the largest False Claims Act settlement ever and the largest healthcare fraud settlement.
  • John Kopchinski - a former pharmaceutical sales representative who brought a qui tam case against Pfizer Inc., alleging the pharmaceutical company was engaged in off-label marketing of Bextra, a pain-killer, in dangerous doses and for unsafe uses. As a result of his case, Pfizer paid $1.8 billion in civil and criminal penalties as part of a $2.3 billion Medicare fraud settlement with the government.
  • Julie Darity - a former contracts administrator for C.R. Bard, a multinational medical device company, who pursued a qui tam lawsuit after her complaints made internally about alleged kickbacks to doctors were ignored. Bard paid the federal government $48.2 million, and Darity received a reward of 21 percent of the recovery.
  • Robert E. McCaslin Jr. - a hospital employee who exposed the hospital's practice of billing Medicare and Medicaid for the treatment of patients who weren't covered by the federal health programs. McCaslin received $3 million as a result of a $15 million settlement with Harris County Hospital.
  • Judith King – a registered nurse who brought a qui tam case against the hospital that employs her. Sharp Memorial Hospital settled for $6.2 million, 20 percent of which went to King for her work and that of her attorneys on the whistleblower case.
  • Michael Lissack – an investment banker who revealed Wall Street’s secret scam in the municipal bond market. His cases against various investment banks helped the government recover more than $200 million.
  • James Alderson – a former hospital executive who uncovered Medicare fraud by the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain and the country’s largest hospital management company. Alderson shared in two separate awards for his information and work on the case.
  • Emil Stache – a manager for a defense contractor that was defrauding the Pentagon. The government recovered $88 million as a result of Stache's whistleblower case, and he received a whistleblower reward of 21.5 percent.
  • Dr. Paul Michelson – an eye surgeon who brought a qui tam case against his former employer and a fellow surgeon for Medicare fraud. Michelson received as a reward a portion of the $355,000 the clinic paid in 1988.