This article was originally published by the Dominion Post on Oct. 6, 2020. The following is an excerpt. 

As the saying goes, Mountaineers are always free in West Virginia. Unfortunately, the cost of fraud is not. And as evidenced by the eye-popping $50 million fraud settlement the federal government just secured from Wheeling Hospital, there is a lot of fraud going around these days. The problem for the Mountain State is it does not have the proper tools to deal with it. Luckily for Charleston, there is an easy legislative fix. Simply enact a state false claims act.

That is what more than 30 states have done in one form or another. They are all modeled after the federal False Claims Act, which deputizes individuals to act as private attorneys general and sue companies defrauding the government, rewarding whistleblowers with up to 30% of any recovery. Much like West Virginia, the law was born out of the Civil War. It was in response to profiteers trying to dupe the Union Army with lame mules and faulty munitions.

This kind of whistleblower rewards law is not new to West Virginia. The state previously considered false claims act legislation in 2014. The bill made it out of committee but the House ultimately rejected it in a 55-42 vote, driven largely by concerns it would be bad for business. What that vote ignored, and the Legislature still ignores, is the proven track record of whistleblowers stepping up to root out fraud that otherwise goes undeterred and undetected.

Read the full piece here [subscription required].

Gordon Schnell

Constantine Cannon

Gordon Schnell has been a partner of Constantine Cannon since 1999, specializing in the representation of whistleblowers under the False Claims Act, the SEC whistleblower provisions under the Dodd-Frank Act, and the vast array of other federal and state whistleblower laws. He founded the firm’s whistleblower practice and with more than 20 whistleblower lawyers in the firm’s four offices in the United States and Europe, it has grown into one of the largest and most successful whistleblower practice groups in the world. Mr. Schnell also litigates and counsels clients on a wide variety of antitrust, fraud and other complex commercial litigation issues. He practices at all levels of federal court and regularly represents clients before the Department of Justice, the various state attorneys general, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal and state enforcement agencies.

Max Voldman

Constantine Cannon

Max Voldman is an associate in Constantine Cannon’s Washington, DC office. Mr. Voldman’s practice is focused on representing whistleblowers under the federal False Claims Act and numerous state law equivalents, and the whistleblower programs of the Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Department of Transportation. Max was selected to the Washington, DC Super Lawyers Rising Stars list in 2019.


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