Monday, October 28, 2013

Lifetime Achievement Award for whistleblower work given to Mary Louise Cohen

The Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund honored Phillips & Cohen partner Mary Louise Cohen with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work on whistleblower cases.

Cohen is responsible for “bringing some of the first and largest (False Claims Act) cases ever won or settled,” said TAFEF in an announcement Oct. 24, including a $302 million settlement against Quest Diagnostics. TAFEF called Cohen a “pioneer of False Claims Act litigation” who brought some of the first “qui tam” (whistleblower) cases and some of the largest ever won or settled.

Phillips & Cohen’s cases have helped the government recover over $11 billion in civil settlements and related criminal fines, making it the most successful law firm representing whistleblowers in the U.S.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Grassley urges IRS commissioner-nominee to change anti-whistleblower culture

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), a long-time champion of whistleblowers and the creator of the IRS whistleblower program, has sent a letter to IRS commissioner nominee, John Koskinen, expressing hope that he will change the anti-whistleblower culture at the IRS.

Grassley is concerned that the IRS whistleblower program is being underutilized and harmed due to the dearth of whistleblower rewards and IRS agents’ reluctance to “fully utilize the whistleblower’s knowledge and expertise to identify and expose tax cheats.”

Whistleblowers often put their careers in jeopardy by coming forward with valuable information. Those who have filed whistleblower claims or are considering filing whistleblower claims have been discouraged by the lack of response from the IRS.

Grassley recommends changes to the IRS whistleblower program: Assurances that whistleblowers will be valued and treated fairly, regular use of the awards programs, encouraging rather than discouraging whistleblowers to come forward, and showing whistleblowers that it is worth risking their careers to report those who violate or skirt tax laws and regulations.