A whistleblower will collect $51 million after alerting authorities to a scheme of illegal kickbacks and bribes at Olympus Corporation of the Americas, a medical device company.
In total, the company will have to pay $646 million in fines after admitting to the wrongdoing. Approximately half of that money is a criminal penalty for violating anti-kickback statutes of federal law, the largest amount ever to be paid for such a violation.
The whistleblower was a 53-year-old former employee of Olympus who worked for the company for 20 years. He was named the company’s compliance officer in 2009. He regularly complained about the company’s standard policy of hiding payments as grants and providing doctors and hospital administrators with expensive entertainment and trips to help sell equipment. However, others within the company decided not to listen and ultimately fired him in 2010.
Kickbacks and bribes are strictly illegal
The man has not worked since being fired, but filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the federal government, which was the entity being cheated as a result of these illegal kickbacks and bribes. Such kickbacks improperly influence one’s judgment about health care needs, which can mean inferior or overpriced equipment is used simply due to the quality of a bribe. This results in healthcare costs going up for everyone and the potential for quality of care going down.
The man also reported that he did not get any resources or training to perform his job when he was named compliance officer. Instead, the company’s CEO at the time told him his job was simply to figure out how the company would be able to “work around the rules.” When he actually attempted to implement a compliance program to stop these kickbacks, he says the CEO began to harass and ostracize him.
It’s important for businesses and organizations to take seriously any reports of wrongdoing made by employees. Contact the skilled Dallas attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers to learn more about what your company should be doing.