Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Chevron, SCOTUS, Petrobras, Medicare & Medicaid Fraud

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team

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Whistleblower accuses Epic of government fraud in lawsuit

A whistleblower’s lawsuit against the Verona-based digital health care records giant Epic Systems alleges the company has been overbilling the government for Medicaid and Medicare.

Geraldine Petrowski, a former employee for a health care system in North Carolina, filed the lawsuit in 2015 under the False Claims Act, the U.S. government’s primary mechanism for combating fraud. Under that law, claims brought by whistleblowers are kept under seal while the Department of Justice investigates the allegations — hence why the lawsuit was kept under wraps until last week, when a federal court unsealed documents in the case. read more »

Erie hospital, physicians' practice settle lawsuit for $20.7 million

Erie-based UPMC Hamot and cardiology practice Medicor Associates Inc. have agreed to pay the U.S. government $20.7 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged that the hospital paid the independent medical practice for patient referrals in violation of federal law. read more »

Former Oil Servicer CEO Pleads Guilty in Petrobras Scandal

A former CEO of oil-services company SBM Offshore NV pleaded guilty Thursday to charges related to the Petrobras corruption scandal in Brazil as the U.S. steps up its pursuit of individuals over corporate misdeeds.

The former executive, Anthony Mace, appeared Thursday in federal court in Houston, where he admitted to conspiring to violate the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Mace’s appearance comes just days after a former sales executive of SBM, Robert Zubiate, pleaded guilty to the same charge. Mace is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 2.

The pleas show that the U.S., after years of investigations on three continents into the bribery scandal known as Operation Carwash, is now moving swiftly against individuals. read more »

Chevron deference landmine lurks in new brief in SCOTUS whistleblower case

There’s a landmine buried in a footnote on the last page of Digital Realty’s newly filed reply brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case that will determine the scope of Dodd-Frank anti-retaliation protections for corporate whistleblowers. And if the justices step on it, they could blow up administrative law as it’s currently practiced.

Digital Realty v. Somers presents the question of whether Dodd-Frank’s generous whistleblower protections cover employees who report their concerns internally rather than to the government. In the section of the statute that establishes the Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower bounty program, the law defines whistleblowers as those to report fraud to the government. The anti-retaliation provisions do not explicitly define the term. The SEC, after a notice-and-comment rulemaking process, interpreted the statute to give whistleblowers a right to sue under Dodd-Frank even if they’ve reported internally. read more »