Three Whistle-Blowers to Share Award

Bloomberg News

A federal judge in Philadelphia ruled that former SmithKline Beecham employees who uncovered insurance fraud should receive more than $52 million from a settlement the drug company reached with the government, in the largest award ever under the federal whistle-blower statute. Robert Merena, a former billing systems analyst at SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories in Pennsylvania, and two others should share the award, U.S. District Judge Donald VanArtsdalen ruled. The three should receive at least 17.5% of a $325-million settlement their ex-employer paid for giving kickbacks to doctors and billing the government for phantom tests, the judge said. Federal law entitles workers who expose illegal practices at companies to as much as 25% of any settlement or fine.

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