Friday, November 4, 2011

Relator Sentenced to Prison for Making False Statements to Government

Now here is something I have never seen:  a relator charged and sentenced for making false statements to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).  Readers, have you seen other instances when a relator has been charged?  Please share your experiences.

The criminal case against the relator grew out of a qui tam that the relator brought against his former employer, Champion Laboratories, Inc., and other competitors alleging that they had conspired to fix prices.  To bolster his qui tam claim and to prompt a parallel criminal investigation, the relator falsified a letter from one Champion's competitors, and then gave it to DOJ's Antitrust Division, telling them that it had been faxed to him by one of his supervisors at Champion.  The relator created this letter with the aim of getting the Antitrust Division to open a criminal investigation against Champion for price fixing, which it did before discovering the letter was false and dropping the investigation.  The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania charged the relator with creating the false document and making false statements to the government.

Just law week, the Court sentenced the relator to two years in prison and imposed $83,000 in restitution which represented the value of the attorney time "wasted" by the Antitrust Division on the grand jury investigation of the relator's claims.

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