Qui Tam, IRS, CFTC, and SEC Whistleblower Claims Update: Today’s Whistleblower Law Symposium A Success

Since 2007, top officials from federal and state agencies and many of the country’s experts in whistleblower cases have gathered in Atlanta to discuss and debate anti-fraud efforts at the Whistleblower Law Symposium.

Today I was excited to chair our Whistleblower Law Symposium once again, as these experts explored the latest developments in qui tam cases under the False Claims Act, and SEC whistleblower, CFTC whistleblower and IRS whistleblower claims. The breadth of expertise of today’s speakers was unusual.

First, top enforcement officials from California, Georgia and Texas shared their approaches and priorities under their state False Claims Acts. We were honored to hear from Britt Grant, Solicitor General of Georgia, about Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens’ impressive new efforts to stop the theft of taxpayer funds.

Joining Britt Grant were California’s Nicholas Paul, Texas’ Ray Winter, and Georgia’s Van Pearlberg, who described how their offices battle Medicaid fraud that is brought to light in state False Claims Act cases. A special thanks goes to Jim Breen for moderating this discussion and sharing his own experiences in working with the states in pursuing large health care fraud cases.At today’s Whistleblower Law Symposium, Jim Breen joined me in presenting former Rep. Edward Lindsey with the “Integrity in State Government Award” from the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund.

Next, representatives of each U.S. Attorney’s Office in Georgia and of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of Georgia described how they coordinate efforts in investigating and pursuing False Claims Act cases. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Berne (N.D.Ga), Chuck Byrd (M.D.Ga.), and Chip Mullaney (S.D. Ga.) joined with Assistant Attorney General Liz White to discuss what lawyers can expect in bringing False Claims Act cases to their offices. Jim Breen again did an excellent job of moderating.

“Hot Topics in Health Care Qui Tam Cases under the False Claims Act” was the next lively discussion, led by Tracy Field of Womble, Carlyle in Atlanta. Participants included my co-counsel in one of the nation’s largest pending heath care fraud cases (against Life Care Centers of America, Inc.), Mark Simpson; Chris Burris of King & Spalding; and Julie Bracker of Bracker & Marcus.

We then turned to qui tam cases in areas outside of health care. Moderated by my co-counsel in a Hurricane Katrina fraud qui tam case that we will try in New Orleans, Marc Vezina, this session focused the effective use of the False Claims Act in areas such as financial fraud and other non-healthcare areas. Our excellent panelists included former U.S. Attorneys Rick Deane of Jones Day and Joe Whitley of Baker Donelson, as well as Marlan Wilbanks of Wilbanks & Bridges.

“Readiness for trial” was the theme of remarks of U.S. Attorney Michael Moore of the Middle District of Georgia. Michael and Chuck Byrd of his office have made his district a desirable one to pursue False Claims Act cases, as they actively push cases to trial.

A special treat today was John Moscow, who prosecuted most of the major financial fraud cases for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for more than 30 years, and is now counsel to the Bernie Madoff Trustee at Baker Hostetler. I interviewed John about what he had learned about “Tracing and Recovering Money in Large Fraud Cases.”

Extremely important aspects of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act expanded the jurisdiction of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). We were honored to have with us Christopher Ehrman, Director of the Office of the Whistleblower of the CFTC, and Rich Foelber, Chief of Cooperative Enforcement at the CFTC. They provided a “Primer on New Whistleblower Claims Involving “Swaps” and Other Derivatives: Financial Fraud Within the Jurisdiction of the CFTC.”

Dodd-Frank also created the first meaningful SEC Whistleblower Program, directed by Sean McKessy of the SEC Office of the Whistleblower. We had an illuminating panel discussion with Sean McKessy (live from the SEC), moderated by David Marshall of Katz, Marshall & Banks. Joining them were Jordan Thomas of Labaton Sucharow, as well as and Tony Powers and Josh Gunnemann, both of Rogers & Hardin.

We concluded with my live interview of IRS Whistleblower Office Director Steve Whitlock (by teleconference), who provided an update on tax whistleblower cases with the IRS. Steve and I have done many programs together since 2007, and it was a pleasure to explore once again how energetic his office has been in promoting the IRS Whistleblower program.

Today’s conference also provided a chance to recognize former Rep. Edward Lindsey, the legislative sponsor of both Georgia False Claims Acts: the 2007 Georgia False Medicaid Claims Act, and the 2012 Georgia Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act. I was honored to have worked with him in drafting each False Claims Act. Edward received the first “Integrity in State Government Award” from the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund.

Many in our sizeable audience expressed appreciation for the high caliber of our speakers and presentations at this Whistleblower Law conference. I thank all of our excellent faculty, and especially our moderators, for making this conference memorable once again!

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