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Medtronic will pay the Government to Settle False Claims Allegations

Medtronic will pay the Gov. to Settle False Claims

Medtronic will pay the Gov. to Settle False Claims

Medtronic will pay the United States government to settle a case involving allegations that the medical device maker caused some physicians from more than 20 states to submit false claims to Medicare, TRICARE and other federal health programs for the investigational and non-reimbursable “SubQ stimulation” procedures from 2007 through 2013.

SubQ stimulation devices are spinal cord stimulators that are inserted beneath the skin near an area where the patient is experiencing pain, typically the lower back. The SubQ devices are intended to release electrical impulses that cause a “tingling” meant to amend chronic pain. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Medtronic arranged company-sponsored “on-site training programs” for physicians and customers even though the procedure’s safety and efficacy had not yet been established under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) mandates. More Medtronic will pay the Government to Settle False Claims Allegations

DeflateGate’s Effects Impact Legal Gambling and the Economy

The National Football League (NFL) has initiated a probe into the New England Patriots following allegations that the team intentionally used overly deflated footballs in their recent drubbing against the Indianapolis Colts in the American Football Conference (AFC) Championship Game, according to an NFL spokesman. The Patriots 45-7 win is bringing them to this Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Bob Kravitz of WTHR in Indianapolis, Indiana broke the “DeflateGate” story noting that the referee removed a ball from play, weighing the ball during an oddly placed mid-game delay during New England’s first drive of the second half. Ultimately, the referee swapped the ball out.

Should the probe confirm the allegations that the balls were intentionally deflated to gain an advantage, the Patriots stand a chance of losing draft picks, Kravitz noted. This is not the first time the Patriots have been involved in game scandals. In 2008, the Patriots received a large fine and were docked a first-round draft pick for their involvement in so-called “SpyGate.” Other allegations of ball deflating have been made in the past. In 2012, at the college level, a student manager with the University of Southern California (USC) was dismissed following allegations he deflated balls during a contest.

Under the NFL’s rules, footballs must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. Both teams provide 12 primary balls each for testing prior to play. The referee tests the 24 balls two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff.

The intentional deflation of footballs is not unknown and when a football is overly deflated, the player’s grip on the ball is greatly improved and the ball becomes easier to hold, catch, and throw, all of which assist the offense. This is noteworthy given that teams use their own balls on offense.

At issue with DeflateGate is the scandal’s effect on legal sports betting, such as on the Internet and in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clearly, the scandal extends well beyond the game, potentially impacting legal, sanctioned betting operations as well as on the economy in the form of lost jobs, revenue, and taxes.

According to LegalBettingOnline, sports betting is the predicting of “sports results while placing a wager on the outcome according to an agreed upon set of rules or laws.” Wagers may be made against another bettor, a “house,” a “bookie,” or another entity. Legal forms of online sports betting may vary from state to state and by country, with Internet betting having become a multi-million-dollar industry. Sports betting is the most popular form of legalized online betting. In the United States, sports gambling is not permitted on the federal level, with Nevada among the few states that permit such betting. In fact, the American Gaming Association (AGA) notes that only Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana permit any form of sports betting. Most of the legal sports betting, however, occurs in Las Vegas. Although Nevada only permits bets verifiable in the box score, online and offshore betting does not have the same restrictions.

The Department of Justice indicates that individual states may “determine their own destiny regarding online gambling”; however, “sports betting seems to be the exception to this rule.” In the U.S., the only legal option for online sportsbook wagering is through legally licensed and regulated online sportsbooks, which are located offshore and “operated under the regulatory oversight of a governing jurisdiction which has already legalized online sports betting for their territory, legally allowing them to offer their services to bettors around the world, including those in the United States.”

In 2014, legal bettors spent $119.4 million on wagers, according to The Week, as well as so-called “prop bets.” This year, gamblers will likely pick from more than 500 various “prop bets,” such as what the opening coin toss will be or which team will score first. Props may involve statistical research, historical analysis, and expectations of market behavior. One may expect that these prop bets might now involve Deflate-Gate. For example, how many times during a broadcast will deflated footballs be mentioned?

The first-ever estimates released by the AGA in January 2015 revealed that, while Americans make $100 million in legal bets on the Super Bowl annually, $3.8 billion in illegal bets are made. CitizenLink notes that about 86 percent of Americans have gambled at least once during their lives.

Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses Health Tech Firm of Making Fraudulent Claims Concerning its Software

Lawsuit Accuses Health Tech Firm - Fraudulent Software

Lawsuit Accuses Health Tech Firm – Fraudulent Software

Two former executives of the health technology firm NantHealth are accusing the company of making fraudulent claims about the reliability of its system.

The former executives filed a lawsuit this week accusing NantHealth of making the fraudulent claims, as well as charges that the company, which links patient information gathered by different medical devices and pieces of hospital equipment, of using company donations to attract federal funds so a hospital could buy its products, according to The New York Times (Times). More Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses Health Tech Firm of Making Fraudulent Claims Concerning its Software

State Farm Asks Appeals Court to Overturn $5 Million Judgment in Hurricane Katrina Fraud Case

State Farm Fire and Casualty Company wants a U.S. appeals court to toss out a $3 million judgment against it involving a whistleblower lawsuit that accused the company of defrauding the government in a policyholder claim after Hurricane Katrina.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled oral arguments in the case for February 5 in New Orleans, Louisiana, according to Claims Journal. More State Farm Asks Appeals Court to Overturn $5 Million Judgment in Hurricane Katrina Fraud Case

Corporations are Retaliating Against Whistleblowers at an Alarming Rate

Retaliation against corporate whistleblowers is becoming epidemic, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched an aggressive lobbying campaign against the nation’s most impactful whistleblowing laws.

According to the Ethics Resource Center (ERC), 45 percent of U.S. workers have observed misconduct at their companies; 65 percent reported the misconduct and 22 percent report being retaliated against for doing so. Stephen Kohn, of the Whistleblowers Protection Blog, says this is an all-time high.  In 2007, an ERC survey showed that only around 10 or 11 percent of whistleblowers reported retaliation, according to Corporate Counsel. More Corporations are Retaliating Against Whistleblowers at an Alarming Rate

Johnson & Johnson Admits to Improperly Marketing Prescription Drugs for Unapproved Purposes

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and the company’s subsidiaries will pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil liability related to allegations that the drug maker promoted the prescription drugs Risperdal, Invega and Natrecor for unapproved uses, and provided kickbacks to physicians and the nation’s largest long-term care pharmacy provider.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the deal on November 4. Holder said J&J improperly marketed Risperdal for treatment of psychotic symptoms in elderly, non-schizophrenic patients. The drug is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only for individuals with schizophrenia. The attorney general also accused J&J of improperly marketing Risperdal and Invega for treatment of dementia. As a result, insurance companies paid for claims they should not have been paying for, according to More Johnson & Johnson Admits to Improperly Marketing Prescription Drugs for Unapproved Purposes

General Motors Extends Deadline for Families of Individuals Killed or Seriously Injured in Vehicles with Defective Ignition Switches

Families of people killed or seriously injured in a car crash involving a General Motors (GM) vehicle affected by a defective key ignition switch will be given an extra month to submit claims to Ken Feinberg, the auto maker’s compensation expert.

Families of individuals killed or serious injured in one of the affected vehicles have until January 31, 2015 to file their claims, Feinberg said Sunday night. The original claim period ran from August 1 through December 31, but was extended, Feinberg said, “out of an abundance of caution,” according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). More General Motors Extends Deadline for Families of Individuals Killed or Seriously Injured in Vehicles with Defective Ignition Switches

Walgreens Facing Allegations that it Overcharges Consumers

The popular Walgreens pharmacy chain is being accused of overcharging customers for copies of their medical records.

In a recent lawsuit, the Deerfield, Illinois-based company is blamed for violating state law by charging a consumer an exorbitant fee for copies of medical records.  Walgreens allegedly charged the man a flat fee of $55 for his records, but state law dictates that companies may only legally charge: More Walgreens Facing Allegations that it Overcharges Consumers

DOJ Joins Whistleblower Lawsuit against Symantec

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has joined a whistleblower lawsuit that claims that computer software giant Symantec overcharged the government and several states by tens of millions of dollars.

The lawsuit alleges that California-based Symantec misrepresented to the General Services Administration the markdowns it was offering commercial customers for its products, the Washington Post reported. Since the government’s price for those software was based on the fraudulent discounts commercial firms received, the government was charged a higher price, according to the lawsuit. More DOJ Joins Whistleblower Lawsuit against Symantec

Thanks to Whistleblower Lawsuits, the Federal Government is set to Collect more than $5 Billion by the end of the Fiscal year

The federal government is set to collect a record of more than $5 billion for contractor-fraud lawsuits. The payout is largely the result of whistleblowers who put their professional reputation at risk to file <em><a href=””>qui tam</a></em> lawsuits.

The $5 billion payout, which is expected to be collected under the federal False Claims Act by the close of fiscal year 2014, is vastly more than the $86 million collected in 1987, when the government decided to increase the amount awarded to whistleblowers in an effort to clamp down on fraud, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.<!–more–>

Only 30 citizens filed cases qui tam in 1987 but in 2013, 753 citizens came forward and their cases comprised 89 percent of U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) fraud cases filed that year. (Qui tam is Latin for “he who sues in this matter for the king, as well as for himself.”) The government has collected $55 billion, including criminal fines, since 1987 and whistleblowers have made more than $4.3 billion, including $388 million in 2013, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

Attorneys say the DOJ opts not to join in on approximately three-quarters of qui tam cases and though every whistleblower puts his job and reputation on the line to speak out against a firm, not every whistleblower gets a payout large enough to transform his or her life, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Some citizens, on the contrary, receive hefty rewards for blowing the whistle on fraud perpetrated inside their workplace. An Alabama nurse received a payout of $15 million in April for reporting alleged fraudulent Medicare billing, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

In 2012, a whistleblower received $14.5 million for reporting allegedly fraudulent loan practices at Countrywide Financial.

Hundreds of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees have come forward in recent months to report lies and cover-ups at the department and dozens of claims in 19 states are being investigated by the Office of Special Council. The VA’s dishonesty has resulted in deaths related to unreasonably long wait times for veterans to see doctors at VA hospitals.

VA whistleblowers have had to contend with threats and harsh retaliation for coming forward. Sloan D. Gibson, acting VA secretary, acknowledged in June that the VA has a history of lashing out against whistleblowers and called the environment of intimidation at the department “absolutely unacceptable.”

Under the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) Whistleblower Protection Program (WPP), whistleblowers are supposed to be protected from harassment and retaliation.  Despite this protection, many whistleblowers say they still face blacklisted in their profession, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.