Articles Tagged with fraud

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whb_caterpillar0131-300x199It is not unheard of for companies go to extreme lengths to avoid paying taxes. From the collapse of Enron to the leaking of the Panama Papers, stories of corporations violating laws to avoid taxes are constantly in the news. Fortunately, a little-known law has given the U.S. government a powerful tool to uncover these crimes, recover ill-gotten gains, and reward the “whistleblower” at the same time.

The False Claims Act, aptly nicknamed Whistleblower Law, rewards citizens for informing the government when they have evidence of corporations committing fraud. Under the False Claims Act, these whistleblowers are eligible to receive 15 to 30 percent of the amount the government recovers.

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Manhattan landlord Steve CromanManhattan landlord Steve Croman used intimidation and harassment to force “countless working-class and low-income families out of their longtime homes,” alleges the office of New York State attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman.

Over the course of a 25-year career in real estate, Croman purchased over 140 apartment buildings, many of them inhabited by rent-stabilized tenants whom he referred to as “targets,” and systematically bought them out to raise rent. His buyout scheme was highly effective, with most of his buildings cleared of its old tenants within just a few years.

Croman has been widely known for his slimy behavior for years now. Attorney general Scheiderman has dubbed him the “Bernie Madoff of landlords,” and the Village Voice referred to Croman as “The Repeat Offender” when he ranked 8th in the city’s Worst Landlords list in 2014.
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2015-09-23T152148Z_01_SIN71_RTRIDSP_3_USA-VOLKSWAGEN-MANAGEMENTCHANGES-1522-300x200Last fall, Volkswagen admitted to installing illegal software on its diesel vehicles in order to cheat pollution emissions tests, defrauding the purchasers of up to 11 million vehicles worldwide.

CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned in the immediate wake of the scandal, and 9 VW executives were suspended.

The US Justice Department has since launched a lawsuit against the company seeking up to $46 billion under the Clean Air Act, and 47 state attorneys general have opened their own investigations. The Justice Department has not ruled out criminal charges against VW. Continue reading →

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750x-1-300x206At least nine motorists are dead because of a design change in the highway guardrails produced by Texas-based Trinity Industries Inc.

In 2005, Trinity changed the design of its ET-Plus guardrail systems in order to cut production costs, but in doing so the company created an added danger for the drivers and passengers of cars that collided with the rails.

Trinity was required by law to alert the National Highway Administration (NHWA) of the design change, but it did not. Instead, the company continued to sell its guardrails to state governments under the pretense that the design was the same.  Continue reading →

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02arbitration-brenner-web-superJumbo-300x211Debbie Brenner was in her 40s when she began the 14-month surgical technician curriculum at Lamson College. The program would cost her over $24,000, but it seemed well worth the cost considering the school’s promise that Debbie would have no trouble finding a job after graduation.

Lamson College sales reps assured Debbie that the school would set her up with an externship at a local hospital or surgical center, and that starting salaries for Lamson graduates ranged from $15 to $26 per hour. They urged Debbie to enroll quickly in order to secure a highly coveted place in the competitive program.

Debbie found early evidence that the program was not all it was cracked up to be. Many professors had little experience in the field of surgical tech, and school equipment was often outdated, broken or missing.
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