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Georgia firm allegedly falsely certified that its firefighting foam complied with military specifications1005981-1517608943

Georgia-based Fire Service Plus Inc. has agreed to pay $985,131 to settle claims that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly supplying “substandard” and “defective” fire suppression foam to the U.S. military, the Department of Justice has announced.

Noncompliant fire-fighting foam
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Manufacturer of home respiratory equipment allegedly coaxed DME suppliers to recommend and buy more of its products by furnishing them with two types of kickbacks—HMS prescription data and loan guarantees

Philips Respironics, a subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Koninklijke Philips N.V. (NYSE: PHG) and a leading manufacturer of home respiratory equipment, has agreed to pay $26 million to settle two qui tam lawsuits alleging it violated the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and False Claims Act by furnishing kickbacks to durable medical equipment suppliers.

The qui tam relator whose complaint exposed the bulk of the fraud will receive a $4.3 million whistleblower award.

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iStock-1297234647-1-300x200Biogen allegedly spent millions illegally inducing doctors to prescribe its multiple sclerosis drugs

The Boston-based pharmaceutical company Biogen Inc. (NasdaqGS: BIIB) has agreed to pay $900 million to resolve a qui tam whistleblower’s claims that it paid neurologists “massive” kickbacks to coax them to prescribe its drugs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.  The kickbacks—which included millions of dollars in sham speaking and consulting fees—allegedly violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act.

Marketing executive receives record $250 million whistleblower award
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Qui tam whistleblower alleged that Bayer fraudulently paid kickbacks, conducted off-label marketing, and hid safety risks

Bayer, the U.S. division of the German drug giant Bayer AG (OTC: BAYRY), has agreed to pay a total of $40 million to settle a pair of False Claims Act whistleblower lawsuits alleging that it illegally marketed three drugs.  According to the lawsuits, Bayer illegally paid kickbacks to doctors, promoted off-label uses, and downplayed safety risks.  The qui tam whistleblower—a former Bayer marketing research analyst—will receive an $11 million whistleblower award from the settlement proceeds.

Illegal off-label marketing and downplaying of risks
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iStock-513229490-300x200Pilot training program allegedly falsified enrollment figures to obtain Veterans Affairs funding

Universal Helicopters Inc. and Dodge City Community College have paid $7.5 million to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act by making false statements to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in connection with a training program they jointly run for helicopter pilot flight instructors in Ford County, Kansas and Chandler, Arizona.

Universal paid $7 million, while Dodge City paid $500,000—an amount the U.S. Department of Justice noted was based on Dodge City’s ability to pay.

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Biotronik allegedly paid doctors illegal kickbacks to promote the sale of its implantiStock-1182459087-1-300x210able cardiac devices

Medical device manufacturer Biotronik has agreed to pay $12.95 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act through payment of illegal kickbacks to physicians as part of an effort to market and promote its implantable cardiac devices, including pacemakers and defibrillators. Two former sales executives of the company who exposed the fraud by filing a qui tam lawsuit will share a whistleblower award of $1.25 million.

A multi-pronged kickback scheme
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Qui tam whistleblower alleged that Aerojet Rocketdyne misled the government regarding itsiStock-1355638834-2-300x169 compliance with cybersecurity standards

Defense contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne (NYSE: AJRD) has agreed to pay $9 million to settle allegations it violated the False Claims Act by falsely certifying its compliance with federal cybersecurity requirements in connection with multiple procurement contracts with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  The qui tam relator whose whistleblower complaint exposed the alleged fraud will receive a whistleblower award of $2.61 million.

Critical cybersecurity deficiencies
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Importer of welded outlets knowingly evaded applicable anti-dumping duties

A federal court in California has awarded $24 million damages—and an additional $2.7 million in attorney’s fees—to a corporate qui tam whistleblower that successfully sued a rival company under the False Claims Act claiming that it unlawfully evaded anti-dumping duties on “welded outlet” imports from China.  The whistleblower—Tennessee-based Island Industries, Inc.—accused importer Sigma Corp. of being able to undersell law-abiding competitors like Island by cheating U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) out of the anti-dumping tariffs.

Jury rules in favor of whistleblower
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As the IRS and state tax authorities cracking down on crypto investors and traders, cryptocurrency tax fraud whistleblowers stand to receive significant awardsCryptocurrency tax fraud

Mark A. Strauss Law, PLLC, a whistleblower law firm, is encouraging individuals with information regarding tax evasion in connection with cryptocurrency transactions to contact whistleblower attorney Mark A. Strauss for a free consultation.

In Notice 2014-21, the IRS made clear that convertible digital currencies comprise intangible “property”—just like shares of stock or other financial assets—for tax purposes.   What that means is that when crypto currencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Etherium (ETH), Ripple (XRP) are sold or exchanged—or simply used as a means of payment—the transaction in question is a taxable event.  Capital gains taxes are owed on any price increases realized.  Parties accepting crypto as payment for goods or services must include the value thereof in their gross income.  Moreover, a wide range of transactions involving cryptocurrencies are potentially taxable, including staking, mining, and crypto-to-crypto trading.

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Extruded aluminum imports fraudulently misclassified as warehouse pallets to evade anti-dumping and countervailing (AC/CVD) duties

A group of California companies affiliated with CiStock-1131702041-1-300x169hinese Billionaire Liu Zhongtian—known as “Uncle Liu” or “Big Boss”—have been ordered to pay the U.S. government $1.83 billion in restitution after having been convicted of a scheme to evade customs duties on imports of Chinese aluminum.  The judgment is believed to be one of the largest in U.S. history involving customs fraud.

On April 11, 2022, United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner sentenced the affiliated warehousing and aluminum companies to five years probation and ordered them to pay the $1.83 billion.  The sentence followed a trial in August 2022 where the defendants were convicted of conducting a scheme with Zhongtian and others to evade U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AC/CVD) on extruded aluminum products from China.  The jury found the defendants guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud, and passing false and fraudulent papers through a customshouse.