Chicago Whistleblower-Lawyer Team Featured on “Fraud in America” Podcast

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Jim Holzrichter and Michael Behn, a Chicago whistleblower and lawyer featured on the CBS “Whistleblower” series, were interviewed for the “Fraud in America” podcast by Taxpayers Against Fraud. The team provided unique insight into their successful fight to recover $134 million for fraud alleged in the Stealth Bomber project and other programs.

"Jim tells it like it is, because he's been there," said Michael Behn, the whistleblower's lawyer and former federal prosecutor.

A prominent Chicago whistleblower and his lawyer, who were both featured on the CBS “Whistleblower” series, gave rare insight into what it’s like to be a whistleblower against one of the most powerful corporations in the world.

The podcast “Fraud in America” features the gripping tale of whistleblower James Holzrichter and his lawyer Michael I. Behn. The whistleblower and his legal team fought defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation in a case that lasted more than 16 years and resulted in Northrop paying $134 million. Hear the podcast at http://www.bit.ly/BehnPodcast.

Behn and Holzrichter sat down to discuss their experiences and thoughts on whistleblowing with Jeb White. White is the President of Taxpayers Against Fraud, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting fraud against the government by helping whistleblowers. The resulting “Fraud in America” podcast tells of Holzrichter’s fight for justice from his discovering accounting anomalies inside the company, through extraordinary personal challenges and a grueling legal battle, to a successful conclusion for the taxpaying public.

“Jim tells it like it is, because he’s been there,” said Behn, a former federal prosecutor who has been representing whistleblowers for decades. Holzrichter’s case alleged that Northrop’s Chicago-area facility had cheated the government on contracts to build radar jammers for the B-2 Stealth bomber, the F-15 Eagle fighter, and other military aircraft. (U.S. ex rel. Robinson and Holzrichter v. Northrop, 89 C 6111, N.D. IL).

“Holzrichter’s case is a real life David versus Goliath,” added Behn. “Jim fought Northrop’s extraordinary power to pursue his case to a successful end for the taxpaying public.” Holzrichter partnered with Behn and other lawyers to hold Northrop accountable under a federal law enacted by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War called the False Claims Act. The law serves to protect whistleblowers (called “relators”) who report fraud against the government, and incentivizes integrity by providing that successful relators get 15-30% of any recovery by the government.

According to Holzrichter, the cost of pursuing such an action is high, and obtaining great legal representation is the key: “I went from a Fortune 500 company to living in a homeless shelter, but Mike was always there to take my phone calls and was very understanding and supportive.” Behn and Holzrichter's extraordinary partnership was featured in an article by Leading Lawyers magazine, available at http://www.bit.ly/BehnForWhistleblowers. Holzrichter went on to write a book about his experiences, titled “A Just Cause,” available through Amazon and other booksellers.

Behn specializes in representing whistleblowers under the False Claims Act, and under the SEC, CFTC, and IRS whistleblower provisions to fight securities, futures, and tax fraud. Behn was formerly a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York (Securities and Futures Fraud Unit) and with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He founded the law firm Behn & Wyetzner Chartered to focus on combatting fraud and advocating on behalf of whistleblowers (http://www.BehnWyetzner.com).

Behn & Wyetzner, Chartered has achieved extensive recoveries for the government and taxpayers through false claims actions brought for whistleblower clients. Recent cases recovered over $120 million in multi-state Medicaid fraud settlements of drug switching allegations against Walgreens, CVS, and Omnicare. All three qui tam whistleblower cases were filed under federal and state False Claims Acts in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, Illinois, docket numbers 03 C 744 (Walgreens), 03 C 742 (CVS) and 01 C 7433 (Omnicare).

Behn & Wyetzner also represented the pharmacist whistleblower alleging that Johnson & Johnson paid kickbacks to influence drug selections in nursing homes, which recovered over $170 million (D. Mass. 07 CV 10288-RGS). Other major cases have recovered hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds for fraud in defense contracting and other federally funded industries. (For more information, visit: http://www.bit.ly/BehnWhistleblowersWin.)

Further details about Behn & Wyetzner, Chartered qui tam actions, relators, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, pharmaceutical and pharmacy fraud, and procurement fraud can be found at http://www.BehnWyetzner.com.

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