Archive for the ‘government fraud’ Category
Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
Kenney & McCafferty is proud to announce that it represents a key Par Pharmaceutical insider whose knowledge, information, and evidence were central to Par’s decision today to pay $45 million to settle civil and criminal allegations. The settlement resolves allegations that Par willfully defrauded Medicare, Medicaid, and other government funded health care programs in connection with the launch of a long-term care sales force to promote Megace ES for off-label uses, including weight loss in elderly patients.
Kenney & McCafferty represented whistleblower Christine Thompson, who filed a qui tam action against Par arising from this misconduct. As a result of her efforts in coming forward with this information as well as her assistance throughout the government’s investigation, Ms. Thompson is entitled to receive a percentage of the government’s civil recovery.
To read more about the Par case, including the complaint, click here.
Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
A former home appraiser for Countrywide (“Countrywide”) Financial will receive a $14.5 million whistleblower reward in connection with a qui tam lawsuit that alleged Countrywide fraudulently inflated appraisals on government insured loans.
The Countrywide qui tam suit, filed by Mr. Kyle Lagow in 2009, was one of five whistleblower complaints that were settled as part of the $25 billion national mortgage settlement that state and federal officials reached with Bank of America and four other lenders this year. Mr. Lagow’s suit was settled for $75 million.
All five qui tam complaints were brought under the whistleblower provisions of the federal False Claims Act, which is a longstanding federal statute that authorizes a private citizen with knowledge of fraud being perpetrated on the federal government to bring a lawsuit on the government’s behalf. If the whistleblower’s suit is successful, the whistleblower may be entitled to up to 30% of the government’s monetary recovery. The False Claims Act also provides for certain protections for employees who are subjected to retaliation for reporting fraud.
Kenney & McCafferty lawyers are experienced in the area of mortgage fraud. If you have knowledge of mortgage fraud and would like to discuss the possibility of a whistleblower award, please contact our attorneys today. Kenney & McCafferty will consult with you about your case, including your ability to remain anonymous in filing for an award, without obligation. All communications with Kenney & McCafferty attorneys regarding your case are confidential and protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Tags: mortgage whistleblower, mortgage whistleblower award
Posted in Bank Fraud, bank whistleblower, corporate fraud, False Claims Act, government fraud, mortgage fraud, Recent News, retaliation, Whistleblower Protection | Comments Off
DID YOU SIGN AN EMPLOYMENT RELEASE WAIVING YOUR WHISTLEBLOWER CLAIM? EVEN IF YOU SIGNED A RELEASE, YOU MAY NOT HAVE LEGALLY RELEASED YOUR CLAIM.
Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
In order to provide an employee with a severance or layoff payment, employers now commonly require their employees to sign a Release which releases or waives all possible claims against their employer for wrongful termination, age discrimination or any other type of lawsuit that employees commonly file against employers. These releases are typically very broad and make clear that employees are releasing all claims during the entire period of employment that has anything to do with their employment.
Employers that do business with the federal and state governments or are involved in Wall Street-type finance are also now sometimes including references to whistleblower claims or even in some cases specific references to the False Claims Act (a federal law pertaining to government contractor fraud) or the Dodd-Frank law (a federal law pertaining to Wall Street-type fraud) in these employment releases.
For employees losing their jobs and concerned that they may not be able to find other employment quickly, it is natural and understandable for that employee to go ahead and sign the Release to receive their severance pay, even if they believe that they might have had a good whistleblower claim.
If you did sign such a Release and believe that you do have a good and current whistleblower claim, you may not be out of luck. Under specific circumstances that are too detailed to get into here, you may be able to pursue a whistleblower claim even if you have already signed an employment Release and even if you have already received your severance pay!
If you believe you have a good whistleblower claim, but are concerned that you may have recently signed an employment Release (or are about to sign such a Release) waiving your claim, call the attorneys at Kenney & McCafferty Law Firm and find out whether you can still pursue a whistleblower claim. The attorneys at Kenney & McCafferty are experienced in dealing with this specific issue and will help you figure out whether you can still pursue your whistleblower claim.
Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
On Thursday, May 24, 2012, the Justice Department’s Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) Working Group announced new resources in the ongoing efforts to investigate and uncover mortgage fraud and abuse that helped precipitate the 2008 financial crisis. These efforts include the launch of a new whistleblower website to report fraudulent activities in the mortgage-backed securities market. The Working Group wants to hear from people “who worked in the RMBS market who acted responsibly but who also may have witnessed greed and misconduct that crossed the legal line and created havoc for investors, homeowners and our economy.” These market participants include loan originators, sponsors, underwriters, trustees, and others.
The RMBS working group was established by Attorney General Eric Holder in January and has been dedicated to initiating, organizing and advancing new and existing investigations by federal and state authorities into fraud and abuse in the RMBS market. The RMBS Working Group is a collaborative effort focused on investigating potential false or misleading statements, deception or other misconduct by market participants in the creation, packaging and sale of mortgage-backed securities.
While the Justice Department said the group’s efforts are law enforcement sensitive and, as a result, must remain confidential, generally it continues to: identify specific RMBS offerings for priority investigation through the use of various forensic tools including risk-based analytics; analyze pending private RMBS litigation throughout the country for evidentiary connections to existing law enforcement investigations; and convene operational meetings among investigators, attorneys, analysts and RMBS market experts and insiders.
Associate Attorney General Tony West said that “although the working group … [has] done a tremendous amount of investigative work already – including having issued more than 25 civil subpoenas – we know that hearing from insiders is particularly valuable.” Substantial financial rewards may be available to whistleblowers who provide specific information if that information leads to a monetary recovery by the government.
If you have knowledge of mortgage fraud and would like to discuss the possibility of a whistleblower award, please contact our whistleblower attorneys today. Kenney & McCafferty will consult with you about your case, including your ability to remain anonymous in filing for an award, without obligation. All communications with Kenney & McCafferty attorneys regarding your case are confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege.
Tags: bank fraud, bank whistleblower, False Claims Act, mortgage fraud, mortgage whistleblower, residential mortgage fraud, RMBS, RMBS website, RMBS working group, SEC investigation
Posted in Bank Fraud, bank whistleblower, False Claims Act, government fraud, mortgage fraud, Recent News, SEC Whistleblower Program | Comments Off
Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
Reuters has reported that the eleven bank subpoenas issued in January by DOJ expand upon previous document requests by the SEC in its ongoing investigations into improprieties relating to the packaging of residential mortgage securities.
According to the Reuters report, people who have reviewed the subpoenas state that the civil subpoenas ask for documents related to every residential securities offering between 2006 and 2008, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds.
The SEC investigation that has been ongoing appears to have been limited to private offerings and did not include Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac bonds. The DOJ subpoenas have also apparently broadened the time period beyond the initial period being investigated by the SEC.
The investigations by the DOJ and the SEC appear to be a part of an inter-agency task force the government has organized to coordinate parallel efforts on current and future investigations. In January, SEC enforcement director Robert Khuzami said that his agency had already reviewed 25 million pages of documents as part of ongoing investigations into residential mortgage-backed securities.
Three firms, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, and Wells Fargo & Co, have now disclosed that they have already received Wells notices from the SEC related to the SEC residential mortgage backed securities investigations. A Wells notice alerts putative defendants that the SEC is considering bringing charges and gives them a chance to rebut the allegations.
The Wells notice indicate that the SEC’s investigation against these three banks has matured to point that SEC charges should be forthcoming. However, the new round of broader DOJ subpoenas indicates that the government investigations will continue and possibly expand.
Tags: bank fraud, doj investigations, mortgage fraud, sec fraud, sec investigations
Posted in Bank Fraud, bank whistleblower, corporate fraud, FHA fraud, government fraud, mortgage fraud, SEC Whistleblower Program, Uncategorized | Comments Off
Friday, March 2nd, 2012
This week the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) announced that it had settled another major mortgage fraud case against a lending institution. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Flagstar Bank FSB has agreed to pay $132.8 million in damages and penalties under the False Claims Act for improperly approving residential home mortgage loans for government insurance.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated, “[This] is another stark example of how certain lenders put profit ahead of responsibility by recklessly churning out mortgage loans without regard to the risk that those loans would default or the significant consequences for the individual homeowners who would inevitably default on their loans, the housing market, and in the aggregate, our nation’s economy.”
On February 15, 2012, Bharra announced that Citicorp Inc.’s Citimortgage unit had agreed to pay $158.3 million to settle claims tied to mortgage fraud related to the federal home-loan insurance program. That false claims action filed by a whistleblower alleged more than six years of misconduct in connection with the Federal Housing Administration Direct Endorsement Program.
Both these cases come on the heels of a $1 billion settlement with the government announced by the Bank of America that relates at least in part to a False Claims Act case filed by a whistleblower alleging mortgage fraud. That case was unsealed last Friday in the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
These cases are part of an overarching investigations by the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Southern (Manhattan) and Eastern (Brooklyn) Districts of New York into the fraudulent banking practices that occurred over the past decade.
Mortgage fraud will continue to be a focus of these investigations because of the billions of dollars in losses suffered by HUD, FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as a result of the rampant mortgage fraud that was orchestrated by national banks during that time. This is a target rich environment for the government with many potential whistleblowers who will no doubt continue to come forward exposing the environment that led to these frauds over the last decade.
Tags: bank fraud, bank whistleblower, False Claims Act, FHA fraud, HUD fraud, mortgage fraud
Posted in Bank Fraud, bank whistleblower, False Claims Act, FHA fraud, government fraud, HUD fraud, mortgage fraud | Comments Off
Friday, February 17th, 2012
The United States District Court for the District of Nevada recently held that qui tam relators cannot proceed with a case brought pursuant to the False Claims Act (“FCA”) without representation of counsel when the United States declines to intervene in the case. The opinion can be found at Malone v. Ohama Housing Auth., 2011 WL 1435257 (D. Neb. April 14, 2011). In Malone, the court recognized that the FCA is silent on whether a whistleblower can proceed pro se; however, the court relied controlling precedent within the Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit, United States v. Onan, 190 F.2d 1, 6-7 (8th Cir. 1951), in making its ruling. In Onan, the Eight Circuit held:
[W]e do not think that Congress could have intended to authorize a layman to carry on such suit as attorney for the United States but must have had in mind that such a suit would be carried on in accordance with the established procedure which requires that only one licensed to practice law may conduct proceedings in court for anyone other than himself…it is unthinkable that Congress by this Act intended to license laymen to practice law. The practice of law is affected with a public interest and an attorney at law as distinguished from a layman, has both public and private obligations, being sworn to act with all good fidelity toward both his client and the court.
The Malone court went on to state that the Eight Circuit’s ruling in Onan, supra, has been adopted in numerous other federal court courts, including the Second, Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits. Malone, 2011 WL 1435257 at * 1(citing Jones v. Jindal, No. 10-7124, 2011 WL 588062, at *1 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 10, 2011); Meidinger v. Healthcare Indus. Oligopoly, 391 F. App’x 777, 780 (11th Cir. 2010); United States ex rel. Mergent Servs. v. Flaherty, 540 F.3d 89, 93-94 (2d Cir. 2008); Timson v. Sampson, 518 F.3d 870, 873-74 (11th Cir. 2008); Stoner v. Santa Clara County Office of Educ., 502 F.3d 1116, 1126-28 (9th Cir. 2007); United States ex rel. Lu v. Ou, 368 F.3d 773, 775-76 (7th Cir. 2005), overruled on other grounds, 129 S.Ct. 2230 (2009)).
While the Malone court left open the possibility that a relator who is also an attorney may proceed without counsel, in that case, because the relator was a non-attorney, the court dismissed the whistleblowers lawsuit. Malone, 2011 WL 1435257 at * 2.
Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Since the Commission’s 3-2 vote adopting the final rules yesterday, the SEC has made the document available on its website at ttp://www.sec.gov/news/press/2011/2011-116.htm
Kenney & McCafferty is carefully reviewing the document and determing how the new rules can benefit those reporting securities violations. For a free consultation about a potential claim of your own, please call K&M today.
Tags: abuse, corporate fraud, False Claims Act, fraud, government fraud, health care fraud, pharmaceutical fraud, retaliate, retaliation, Tax Fraud, tax whistleblower, waste, whistle blower, whistle blowing, whistleblower, whistleblowing, wrongful termination
Posted in corporate fraud, Corporate Tax Fraud, False Claims Act, government fraud, Money Laundering Tax Fraud, SEC Whistleblower Program, Uncategorized, Whistleblower Protection | Comments Off
Thursday, May 19th, 2011
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion holding that Freedom of Information Act request responses constitute “reports,” relators who rely on FOIA request responses can fall prey to the public disclosure bar of the False Claims Act. The Court issued the opinion in Schindler Elevator Corp v. United States ex rel. Kirk on May 16, 2011. Justice Ginsburg filed the dissenting opinion, in which Justices Breyer and Sotomayor joined.
Relator Daniel Kirk, a military veteran, worked for Schindler Elevator from 1978 to 2003. He resigned in September 2003 saying that the company had forced him out. Kirk filed his False Claims action in 2005. In an amended complaint in 2007, Kirk alleged that Schindler has improperly submitted for payment hundreds of false claims to the government because Schindler had certified it was in compliance with VEVRAA reporting requirements. Kirk alleged the certification of compliance was false.
Relator Kirk sought verification that his allegations were correct by asking his wife to ask for Schindler’s reporting information through a FOIA request. Mrs. Kirk made three requests, and DOL responded with information that showed the reports were not filed for several years in question.
Schindler asked the Court to dismiss the case on the ground that the verification information Mrs. Kirk obtained through the FOIA requests was a “public disclosure.” Under the pre-existing public disclosure rules, whistleblower claims could be dismissed if the relator was found to have “based” the allegations on specified types of publically available information. In Schindler, J. Thomas said that a FOIA response = a report = a public disclosure. He left open the question of whether or not Mr. Kirk based his allegations on those FOIA responses.
False Claims actions can be complicated, and the statute requires a whistleblower to be represented by an attorney. For a free consultation on a potential government fraud claim, please call Kenney & McCafferty, P.C. today.
Tags: abuse, clarence thomas, corporate fraud, corruption, False claims, False Claims Act, FCA, FERA, fraud, fraud reward, government fraud, public disclosure, Qui Tam, reward, supreme court whistleblower, tax whistleblower, whistle blower, whistle blowing, whistleblower appeals, whistleblower reward, whistleblowing, wrongful termination
Posted in corporate fraud, False Claims Act, government fraud, Uncategorized, Whistleblower Protection | Comments Off