Factbox: Criminal case settlements involving whistleblowers

(BestGrowthStock) – Former GlaxoSmithKline Plc employee Cheryl Eckard will receive $96 million, believed to be the largest award to a single whistleblower in U.S. history, for exposing a fraud on the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the award on Tuesday as part of a $750 million settlement and a criminal guilty plea by the pharmaceutical company over manufacturing defects at a now closed plant in Puerto Rico.

Eckard’s award stands out among the leading settlements of criminal allegations under the U.S. False Claims Act, a U.S. Civil War era law that was revised in 1986 to encourage people to report fraud.

By statute, the amount of individual awards to whistleblowers is 15 percent to 25 percent of the settlement total, or a part of the settlement total.

Facts about the top five judgments and settlements under the U.S. False Claims Act:

* About a dozen whistleblowers received awards from a $1 billion payment made by Pfizer Inc under the False Claims Act in September 2009, out of a total $2.3 billion settlement paid by the company for kickbacks and off-label marketing.

Six awards were disclosed: John Kopchiniski, $51.5 million; Stefan Kruszewski, $29.013 million; Ronald Rainero, $9.3 million; Glenn DeMott, $7.43 million; Dana Spencer, $2.74 million, and Blair Collins, $2.35 million.

* Tenet Healthcare Corp paid $900 million in July 2006 for billing violations that included manipulation of payments to Medicare. No information was publicly released on rewards to whistleblowers.

* GlaxoSmithKline Plc settled a criminal case for $750 million in October 2010 for manufacturing and distributing adulterated drugs. Former employee Cheryl Eckard was awarded $96 million.

* In June 2003, The Healthcare Company, formerly known as Columbia HCA, paid $731.4 million to resolve allegations over how the hospital chain billed the U.S. government and states for healthcare costs.

John Schilling and Jim Alderson, two of about 20 whistleblowers, received the largest award, $100 million combined.

* Merck & Co settled a pricing fraud case in January 2008 after it was accused of taking kickbacks and breaking Medicaid best-price regulations on several drugs.

Whistleblower Dr. William LaCorte was awarded between $10 million and $15 million.

Sources: Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund and U.S. Department of Justice.

(Compiled by Grant McCool; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Factbox: Criminal case settlements involving whistleblowers