Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Twitter, Lance Armstrong, Rio Tinto

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team

05/04/2018

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Twitter says all 336 million users should change their passwords

Twitter has recommended its 336 million users change their passwords.

The company announced on Thursday it discovered a bug that saved user passwords unprotected on an internal log. read more »

Justice Department to seek judgment against Lance Armstrong's former manager

The U.S. Justice Department plans to seek a default judgment against Lance Armstrong’s former cycling team manager after he ignored a federal lawsuit against him.

The manager, Johan Bruyneel, helped direct all seven of Armstrong’s tainted victories in the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005. But then the Justice Department named him as a co-defendant in a $100 million civil fraud case against Armstrong in 2013.

A judge dismissed Armstrong from the case this week after he agreed to pay nearly $7 million. And now a default judgment against Bruyneel could put him on the hook for a considerable amount of money,

The government had alleged Bruyneel had encouraged the cycling team’s use of illicit drugs and told riders when and where they should meet doctors for illicit treatments. The Postal Service paid $32.3 million to sponsor the cycling team from 2000 to 2004 – money the government sought to recoup for the Postal Service after learning the team was doping in violation of its sponsorship contract. Under the False Claims Act, those damages conceivably could have been tripled to nearly $100 million. read more »

Rio Tinto says it will fight fraud claims

Rio Tinto's chairman has defended the company's culture amid allegations of fraud related to the miner's accounting of a coal venture in 2012.

Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson says the mining giant is committed to a culture of transparency and integrity, and will vigorously defend itself against allegations of fraud.

The Australian Securities and investment Commission on Tuesday updated its allegations against Rio Tinto, its former chief executive Tom Albanese and former chief financial officer Guy Elliott, related to a failed $US4 billion ($A5.3 billion) Mozambique coal venture six years ago.

The corporate regulator said both men breached auditing rules when they signed off on the miner's 2012 half-year report that listed the Mozambique coal mine as an operating asset worth $US3.4 billion, but then sold it in 2014 for $US50 million. read more »

Physicians Charged with Unlawfully Distributing Buprenorphine and Defrauding Medicare and Medicaid

Five physicians of Redirections Treatment Advocates, LLC, an opioid addiction treatment practice with offices in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, have been indicted on charges of unlawfully dispensing controlled substances and health care fraud

According to the indictments, Redirections Treatment Advocates, LLC, operates Suboxone clinics in several locations in western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.  The indictments allege that the defendants, working as contractors at various locations, created and distributed unlawful prescriptions for buprenorphine, known as Subutex and Suboxone, a drug that should be used to treat individuals with addiction.  The defendants are also charged with conspiracy to unlawfully distribute buprenorphine.  Finally, the defendants are charged with health care fraud for allegedly causing fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicare or Medicaid for payments to cover the costs of the unlawfully prescribed buprenorphine. read more »

Carmakers and big tech struggle to keep batteries free from child labor

Car and tech companies are scrambling for supplies of cobalt, a mineral they need to power electric vehicles and smartphones. But they have a problem: Much of the cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries comes from a country where children work in mines.

A CNN investigation has found that child labor is still being used to mine the valuable mineral at some operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This country produces about two-thirds of the world's cobalt and is estimated to sit atop half of the globe's reserves.

The problem may be getting worse. Rising demand has led cobalt prices to quadruple in the past two years, and that helped boost production at so-called artisanal mines in the DRC by 18% in 2017 read more »