November 20, 2015
- The SEC released its annual report on its Whistleblower Award Program, which showed whistleblower tips continued to increase in 2015. There were nearly 4,000 tips from 61 different countries in 2015, leading to $37 million in rewards for whistleblowers. Phillips & Cohen won for an international client last year the largest SEC whistleblower award ever – more than $30 million .
- What’s going on in California? 646 whistleblower tips to the SEC in 2015 originated in California. That dwarfed the next closest states: New York had 261, while Texas as Florida had 220.
- Education Management Corp., the second largest for-profit college operator in the US, agreed to settle for $95.5 million in addition to doling out more than $100 million instudent loan forgiveness to over 80,000 defrauded students. Four whistleblowers will split an $11 million reward for their role in the case.
- The Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund hosted its annual conference this week where Sen. Chuck Grassley received the “Honest Abe Integrity in Government Award.” Photo: https://instagram.com/p/-POFdal-Ni/
- Quote of the Week: “Ignoring whistleblowers in the fight against tax fraud makes no sense. That’s like using Morse code when someone has given you a smart phone.” – Grassley, at the TAF conference on Wednesday
- Several Phillips & Cohen attorneys participated in panels during the TAF conference. Erika Kelton: http://on.fb.me/1X3r5lV, Stephen Hasegawa: http://on.fb.me/1Yl8wXv, Colette Matzzie: http://on.fb.me/21984xR, Peter Chatfield: http://on.fb.me/21984xR, and Peter Budetti: http://on.fb.me/1OjCuXb
- DOJ and the Wisconsin Attorney General agreed to a $3.7 million settlement with Deaconess Home Health. That might be one of the last cases in Wisconsin in a long time, though, since legislature ripped out the state’s whistleblower provision for Medicaid fraud back in July.
- Read the fine print: The New York Times recently put out an excellent series on “forced arbitration.” The articles help shed light on this shady business practice that can affect anything from a new job offer to a cell phone contract. WBLI wrote about how these clauses can handcuff whistleblowers as well.
Other big whistleblower cases this week:
- Novartis Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $370 million to resolve whistleblower allegations of kickbacks to specialty pharmacies in return for recommending two of its drugs.
- A $19.875 million settlement paid by the University of Florida to settle alleged False Claims Act violations.