Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Bribery, Money Laundering, SEC

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team

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Doctors skate in bribery scandal sparked by Seattle informer

Seven years ago, a tipster came to Veterans Affairs Department internal investigators with a thread to pull.

A Seattle-based VA doctor was “too cozy” with a pharmaceutical salesperson plying clinicians with bribes whitewashed as “speaking fees.” Doctors were paid thousands of dollars – on top of sweeteners like chartered fishing trips and Def Leppard tickets – to push Dermagraft, a “biological bandage” primarily used to treat diabetic foot ulcers.

Investigators ultimately determined that salespeople for Dermagraft manufacturer Advanced BioHealing had put dozens of doctors on the payroll by the time the pay-to-promote scheme broke apart. While the VA-related bribes drew the most attention, Advanced BioHealing and others appear to have suborned healthcare providers across the industry.

According to federal prosecutors, nearly all of doctors involved have avoided discipline of any sort. More troublingly, investigators say they are still soliciting bribes. read more »

The Great British Money Laundering Service

New transparency rules designed to reveal the true owners of British companies are being flouted. Billions of pounds of dirty money is alleged to have passed through opaque UK companies in recent years.

How does this square with UK's international reputation for financial probity? A British company at a British address carries an air of legitimacy. But, in reality, some corporate vehicles are being used to fill the pockets of corrupt politicians and deprive people living in poverty of much-needed public funds.read more »

Airbus Pays $99-Million Fine to End Eurofighter Bribery Case

Airbus SE agreed to pay a 81 million-euro ($99 million) fine to end a five-year bribery investigation by German prosecutors in connection with Eurofighter jets the defense company sold to Austria in 2003. read more »

Deutsche Bank, trader settle U.S. SEC charges over bond prices

Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) will pay nearly $4.5 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that its traders and salespeople misled customers about prices of commercial mortgage-backed securities, the regulator said on Monday. read more »

A Famed Fishing Port Staggers as Its ‘Codfather’ Goes to Jail

Carlos Rafael, who ruled New Bedford’s fishing of cod and haddock, was caught lying about his catches. Now the piers have grown quiet.

Carlos Rafael, whose initials are emblazoned on boats all over this port city, boasted that his fishing empire was worth even more than official records showed. His trick? When he caught fish that are subject to strict catch limits, like gray sole or cod, he would report that his nets were filled with something far more plentiful, like haddock.

“We call them something else, it’s simple,” Mr. Rafael told visitors who seemed interested in buying his business. “We’ve been doing it for over 30 years.” He showed off a special ledger labeled “cash.” And he described an under-the-table deal he had going with a New York fish buyer, saying at one point, “You’ll never find a better laundromat.”

But Mr. Rafael’s visitors turned out to be Internal Revenue Service agents, and the conversations, caught on tape and described in court documents, began the unraveling of Mr. Rafael, whose reign over a segment of this region’s fishing industry gave him his larger-than-life nickname, “the Codfather.” read more »