Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Maxwell qui tam oil royalty case settled

From Law Week online:
The long fought federal False Claims Act qui tam action that whistleblower Bobby Maxwell prosecuted on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice against Anadarko Corp. settled yesterday. Anadarko agreed to pay $26 million, a majority of which will be payments to the government. Maxwell, a former auditor with the former federal Minerals Management Service brought the case against Anadarko back in 2004 alleging that Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Corp., a successor of Anadarko, had knowingly filed false federal crude oil royalty reports from Jan. 1999 to Dec. 2002. resulting in underpayment to the government of approximately $7.5 million.
What I find significant is that the whistleblower was a former auditor with the Minerals Management Service and suffered acts of reprisal by the MMS.  Let's hope that the DoJ sees the light and starts appreciating government whistleblowers rather than accusing them of being bad people.   Government whistleblowers are often in the best position to ferret out fraud.  But because of the nature of a bureaucracy, the brass tries to sweep the fraud under the rug rather than remedying the problem.  Taxpayers suffer of course; patients often suffer as well. It's been my experience that government whistleblowers almost always first blow the whistle within the government, to only be punished by their superiors, and are left no choice but to file a qui tam case.  In many situations, courageous government whistleblowers are the only ones that have the backbone to do the right thing and protect taxpayers.      

1 comment:

  1. Nice Post.. I think there is nothing wrong with the move. It is even a better idea because there are other more pressing financial needs. The royalties will take years anyway so the council will still be able to gather enough revenues.


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