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On July 18, 2019, a federal grand jury in Cincinnati indicted the former compliance officer of a pharmaceutical distributor, James Barclay, the pharmaceutical distributor, and others with conspiring to illegally distribute controlled substances. Among other things, the indictment alleged that Barclay, who was responsible for supervising the distributor’s compliance with drug laws, and others sold millions of painkiller pills to pharmacies, while regularly exceeding the company’s internal threshold limits and ignoring obvious signs of diversion and abuse. When the company’s internal suspicious order monitoring system flagged many of these orders, Barclay and other defendants allegedly failed to conduct any due diligence or report the suspicious orders to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as required by law. The Barclay indictment was issued around three months after federal prosecutors in Manhattan brought felony criminal charges against a different drug distributor, its former Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), William Pietruszewski, and others on allegations that they opened new customer accounts without conducting due diligence and sold customers controlled substances despite knowing they were being distributed for illegitimate purposes. On April 19, 2019, Pietruszewski pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and willful failure to file suspicious order reports with the DEA.
By Jonathan S. Feld and Katie J. Welch
Despite the historical trend of reduced government involvement in qui tam actions, the government is sending “mixed messages” regarding its view of FCA relators.
By Johanna Fricano
Following the Delaware Chancery Court’s ruling in In re Trulia, Inc. that effectively closed the door to 14(a) disclosure-based settlements in Delaware state court, federal courts saw an influx of 14(a) “merger objection” litigation. More often than not, these suits are quickly dismissed following the company’s issuance of a supplemental proxy with additional disclosures and the parties negotiate a mootness fee. The transaction closes and all parties move on — or so we thought. An emerging trend suggests that exposure to 14(a) claims may coming back from the near dead.
By Robert J. Anello and Richard F. Albert
The significance of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), which is intended to guarantee crime victims a role in federal criminal proceedings, has been highlighted in the case of Jeffrey E. Epstein, the financier accused of sexually trafficking underage girls. Because the government’s noncompliance with the CVRA in negotiating Epstein’s plea deal in 2008 led to Alexander R. Acosta losing his cabinet position as Secretary of Labor, practitioners can expect prosecutors and judges to be more focused on the CVRA going forward.
By Juliet Gunev
Microsoft and Hungarian Subsidiary Agree to Pay $25 Million to Resolve FCPA Investigations in Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Thailand