Whistleblower News & Articles
October 28, 2020
The Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund 20th Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony is October 28-30, 2020. As in past years, WLC attorneys will be active participants in the Conference: as proud sponsors, as speakers on important topics, and as (virtual) attendees. As members of TAFEF, we couldn’t be more committed to combatting fraud and incentivizing integrity to protect our public funds and public health. This is especially important as whistleblowers and the False Claims Act and other whistleblower laws and programs are needed more than ever to fight against COVID-19 fraud.
Leading off the Conference, WLC Attorney Erica Blachman Hitchings will speak on a panel discussing recent developments in False Claims Act litigation. As a former Department of Justice fraud prosecutor who now represents whistleblowers, Ms. Hitchings brings a unique perspective to the panel.
Among the topics the panel will cover are emerging fraud schemes involving COVID-19 relief funds, materiality, government motions to dismiss, litigation financing, potential amendments to the False Claims Act amendments, and other hot topics in FCA practice.
Ms. Hitchings will be joined on the panel by David Chizewer, Goldberg Kohn, Ltd., Chicago, IL, and Jamie Yavelberg, Director of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division, Fraud Section, Washington, DC.
On Day 2 of the Conference, WLC Attorney Bruce C. Judge will lead a panel exploring the ethical guardrails that guide relator’s counsel and government attorneys when conducting investigations into violations of the False Claims Act. Using recent case law, the panel will discuss how courts address the interplay between ethical restrictions on contact with represented parties/persons and the government’s need to investigate and prevent fraud targeting taxpayer funded programs.
Attorney Judge, who served as a criminal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice and Professional Responsibility Officer (PRO) for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan prior to joining the WLC, is superbly qualified to lead this panel through the nuances and challenges of this important topic.
Joining Mr. Judge on the panel will be Ian Doig, Morgan Verkamp LLC, Cincinnati, OH, and David Wiseman, Assistant Director, U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division, Fraud Section,Washington, DC.
The WLC is a long time supporter of TAFEF and its important mission to educate and empower whistleblowers and their attorneys to protect the public fisc. Founded in 1986 as a nonprofit public interest organization, TAFEF’s mission is to combat fraud against the government and protect taxpayer funds through private-public partnerships. The federal False Claims Actand state false claims acts with their qui tam provisions, as well as other whistleblower programs such as the SEC’s are premised on a public-private partnership to fight fraud.
As proud members of TAFEF since 2003, we can attest to its effectiveness on behalf of whistleblowers and the taxpayers. We laud TAFEF’s efforts to provide important training and educational resources, give voice to whistleblowers, and protect the taxpayers. WLC member Erica Blachman Hitchings serves on TAFEF’s President’s Council and WLC member and co-founder Suzanne E. Durrell is a member of TAFEF’s national COVID-19 Anti-Fraud Task Force.
WLC founders Robert M. Thomas, Jr. and Suzanne E. Durrell were honored to receive TAFEF’s 2017 Whistleblower Lawyer of the Year Award. We look forward to continuing our support of TAFEF and our important work on behalf of whistleblowers and the taxpayers.