Posts Tagged ‘attorney general’
Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012- An Arkansas judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $1.1 billion after a jury found that the company’s Risperdal marketing campaign violated the state’s consumer-protection laws. Specifically, the jury found that J&J downplayed and hid risks- diabetes and weight gain- associated with taking its antipsychotic drug.
Circuit Judge Tim Fox determined that J&J and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., committed nearly 240,000 violations of the state’s Medicaid fraud law — or one for each Risperdal prescription issued to state Medicaid patients over a 3 1 / 2-year period. Each violation carried a $5,000 fine, the state’s mandatory minimum amount, bringing the total to more than $1.1 billion.
Judge Fox issued an additional $11 million fine for more than 4,500 violations under the state’s deceptive practices act.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued a statement, claiming that today’s verdict “sends a clear signal that big drug companies like Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals cannot lie to the [FDA], patients and doctors in order to defraud Arkansas taxpayers of our Medicaid dollars.”
Arkansas is one of several states who have sued J&J over its marketing of Risperdal, yet the Arkansas penalty is the largest to date against J&J. In 2010, jurors in Louisiana ordered the drug manufacturer to pay almost $258 million to state officials for making misleading claims about the drug’s safety. Less than a year later, in June 2011, a South Carolina judge upheld a $327 million civil penalty against the company. Most recently, in January 2012, Texas reached a $158 settlement with the company, which did not admit fault in connection with the settlement.
Shortly after the verdict, Janssen issued a statement indicating its intent to appeal the verdict, which would be heard by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
The United Stated continues to investigate the sales practices of J&J and Janssen related to Risperdal, including allegations that the company marketed the drug for unapproved uses. “Johnson & Johnson needs to wake up and realize they are playing a losing game. They should be running, not walking, to the settlement table,” said Patrick Burns of Taxpayers against Fraud. “[The Department of Justice] offered a global settlement for $1.8 billion last month. I am not sure that deal is going to stay on the table after this.”
If you have knowledge of Healthcare Fraud and would like to discuss the possibility of a whistleblower award under the False Claims Act, please contact our whistleblower attorneys today. Kenney & McCafferty will consult with you about your case, without obligation. All communications with Kenney & McCafferty attorneys regarding your case are confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege.
Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
A long time corporate investigator recently shared his concern that whistleblowers look to corporate investigators and attorneys for help and protection when they blow the whistle. Nothing could be further from the truth. “There’s nothing I can do,” said the investigator. “I’ve seen it over and over again. They are going to get their heads cut off.”
The investigator said he knew that whistleblowers, no matter the merit of their report, would be skillfully and systematically terminated with a substantial paper trail to support management’s actions.
“They look to me for help,” he said. “I work for the company. I tell them that, but they don’t seem to understand.”
Neither did CEO Ian Norris of Morgan Crucible Company. Morgan Crucible came under government investigation for an international price fixing conspiracy. CEO Norris began a campaign to obstruct a grand jury investigation, and he shared details of his campaign with Morgan Crucible’s attorney. When the government learned of Norris’s obstruction, it charged Norris with corruptly persuading, and attempting and conspiring to corruptly persuade, others with intent to influence their testimony in grand jury proceedings. Morgan Crucible waived its attorney client privilege and granted permission for corporate counsel to testify. Norris fought the testimony, saying the corporate attorney also represented Norris in his individual capacity and was prohibited from testifying.
The Third Circuit disagreed, but found that communications about scope of representation were ambiguous. Ultimately, the court ruled that Morgan Crucible, alone, held the right to waive attorney client privilege, and the attorney testified.
The attorney testified that Norris, in front of counsel, disseminated a false cover story and scripts about the price fixing and encouraged everyone, including counsel, to relay the false information to investigators. The attorney said he did not know the information was false.
Attorneys and investigators should provide employees with explicit explanations about their role in investigating allegations of fraud within a corporation. They often do not, for a variety of reasons. Bottom line – employees need to take steps to protect themselves when they report corporate misconduct internally.
For a free consult about whether you have a potential government fraud claim, call K&M today.
Tags: abuse, attorney general, corporate fraud, corruption, False claims, False Claims Act, FCA, FERA, fraud, fraud reward, government fraud, health care fraud, IRS whistleblower, IRS whistleblower program, medicare fraud, pharmaceutical fraud, Qui Tam, retaliate, retaliation, SEC whistleblower, Tax cheat, tax evasion, Tax Fraud, tax whistleblower, whistle blowing, whistleblower award, whistleblowing, wrongful termination
Posted in Corporate Tax Fraud, Employment Tax Fraud, False Claims Act, Money Laundering Tax Fraud, Offshore Accouts Fraud, retaliation, SEC Whistleblower Program, Tax Fraud, Uncategorized, Whistleblower Protection | Comments Off
Monday, January 31st, 2011
Eric Schneiderman stated Wednesday that his first policy effort as New York Attorney General will be to broaden the state’s current false claims efforts beyond health care to all other state and local government fraud. Schneiderman said his new program would bring “the same focus that [New York’s] Medicaid fraud recovery unit has brought to those who try to rip off the government in [the state’s] expenditures of Medicaid funds.” Chief among the expansion efforts is a highly anticipated Taxpayer Protection Unit intended to crack down on large scale tax cheats and unethical government contractors.
New York passed an enhanced state False Claims Act last year, sponsored by Schneiderman during his tenure as a state senator. Haled by Schneiderman as the “strongest anti-fraud statue in the United States,” the law is the first in the country to have a provision that allows whistleblowers to go after tax cheats who defraud New York State of more than $350,000. The Taxpayer Protection Unit will also target multi-state corporate tax fraud schemes.
Schneiderman’s presentation appears to fall in the footsteps of past New York Attorney General’s fraud fighting focus, earning the post the nickname “the Sheriff of Wall Street.” Governor Cuomo, a former Sheriff of Wall Street himself, publicly applauded Schneiderman’s efforts, stating, “Recouping taxpayer dollars illegally siphoned from state coffers is critically important.”
The expanded government fraud effort comes as New York State grapples with an anticipated $10 billion shortfall in a next year’s budget, with projected deficits over the following two years of $14 billion and $17 billion.
Kenney & McCafferty has been at the forefront of state False Claims Act filings and has experience with working with the New York Attorney General’s Office on whistleblower matters. For a free assessment of your potential claim, call K&M today.
Tags: attorney general, corruption, False Claims Act, government fraud, New York, reward, schneiderman, Tax Fraud, whistleblower
Posted in Corporate Tax Fraud, False Claims Act, Offshore Accouts Fraud, Recent News, Tax Fraud | Comments Off