We are pleased to announce that James J. McEldrew, III, has been named to the 2017 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list. Brandon Lauria and Daniel Purtell were named to the 2017 Pennsylvania Rising Stars list published by the same organization.
Jim McEldrew has scheduled his annual holiday party for Philadelphia’s railroad workers. This year, it will be Friday, December 8, 2017 starting at 6:30 PM at Chez Colette (located inside the Sofitel Hotel). Chez Colette is located at 120 S. 17th St. in Center City, Philadelphia.
After a seven day trial conducted by McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt attorneys Jim McEldrew and Dan Purtell, our client has been awarded a verdict of $1.836 million by a Philadelphia jury for a spinal injury.
Gretchen Carlson of Fox News interviewed Jim McEldrew this afternoon on her television show. Jim has been representing injured individuals in railroad litigation for more than thirty years and formerly served as the President of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys. They discussed the implications of the foreign object and the potential for the railroad engineer to be confused as to his geographical position on the tracks.
The Pennsylvania CPA Journal published a piece by McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt Partner Eric L. Young in its Winter 2017 edition on the changes to the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) Code of Ethics. The new ethics guidelines greatly clarify the steps for accountants to take when they confront suspected noncompliance with laws and regulations (NOCLAR) during the performance of their duties for clients.
The “Whistleblower”, who wishes to remain anonymous (hereinafter referred to as “Mr. Doe”), worked as a CPA in the accounting department of a Fortune 500 financial services firm. While carrying out his basic job responsibilities, Mr. Doe discovered that his employer failed to properly disclose the extent of its tax liability and also claimed tax credits in excess of permissible amounts. Mr. Doe initially reported these accounting errors to company management. However, to his dismay, the Company decided not to correct the accounting errors discovered and, to make matters worse, the company made a conscious decision not to inform the IRS who was in the midst of performing a large case examination. By withholding this information from the IRS, Mr. Doe determined that the Company had committed tax fraud in the form of an underpayment totaling in excess of $20 million.
Mr. Doe originally filed his tax fraud whistleblower case pro se in April 2007, after the newly formed IRS Whistleblower Office opened. After having been contacted and interviewed early on, years went by during which time Mr. Doe received no information of feedback from the IRS. Mr. Doe became concerned that if the IRS conducted an investigation and recovered back taxes as a result, that his claim to a reward under the new whistleblower program may not be assured. It was then that Mr. Doe retained Eric L. Young, Esquire, an Egan Young founding partner, to represent him.
Mr. Young, an experienced whistleblower attorney, assessed the case and determined not only that Mr. Doe’s allegations should be of significant interest to the IRS, but that the case appeared to not have been properly docketed by the IRS Whistleblower Office. Mr. Young proceeded to work with the IRS’ Whistleblower Office by resubmitting Mr. Doe’s claim and assuring that a “Claims Number” was assigned by the Whistleblower Office — something that did not occur before Mr. Young assumed representation in this case.
After securing a Claims Number for Mr. Doe’s claim, Mr. Young proceeded to provide all of the original case documents and information to the IRS Whistleblower Office, further exposing the Company’s substantial fraud. At the same time, Mr. Young determined that an investigation had ensued and over the course of his representation, both he and his associate, Brandon J. Lauria, Esquire, maintained close contact with the IRS Whistleblower Office in order to assure that Mr. Doe’s allegations were investigated and that his right to a reward would be protected in the event of a recovery by the IRS.
Mr. Doe’s decision to retain Mr. Young and his law firm paid off. On April 7th, 2011, Mr. Doe received the first-ever mandatory whistleblower reward (as confirmed by the IRS Whistleblower Office) in the amount of $4.5 Million. Although the IRS code provides that rewards may range from 15 to 30 percent of the IRS recovery, Mr. Young’s representation and the Whistleblower’s cooperation directly led to an enhanced reward of 22 percent!
Last spring was a pretty busy time for whistleblower news at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt. It has been the same this year!
We are pleased to announce that our client, Todd Mihajlovic, exposed the concealment of the origin of goods imported into the United States by ECL Solutions Limited, Inc., a British company doing business with the U.S. military as Ban-Air Storage Systems (“ECL”). Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that ECL pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggle goods into the United States and was ordered to pay a forfeiture money judgment of $1,066,132.10 in the criminal prosecution in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The Government’s press release announcing the success in the criminal matter can be found on the DOJ’s EDPA website here.
We represented Mr. Mihajlovic, who filed a civil qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in 2012. Mr. Mihajlovic’s complaint alleged that ECL violated the False Claims Act because of false representations made by the company that products it sold to the United States complied with the Buy American Act (BAA) and the Trade Agreements Act (TAA). According to the Complaint, ECL obscured the fact that its steel racking systems sold to the U.S. military were actually imported from China.
Mr. Mihajlovic has our profound gratitude for bringing the company’s scheme to the attention of the U.S. Government. Here at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, Attorney Brandon Lauria took the lead on the case and spent countless hours on the case to see it to a successful resolution. We were assisted by United Kingdom Solicitor-Advocate Howard S. Brown, who is associated with Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP.
This case is an example of the rise of international whistleblowing, as our client is located outside the United States. Fortunately, the whistleblower laws incentivize reporting by individuals regardless of their location and citizenship. The False Claims Act, as well as the SEC, CFTC, and IRS whistleblower programs, do not restrict the U.S. Government from rewarding international whistleblowers. Otherwise, in the era of transnational commerce, fraud might go unchecked simply because the evidence of the corporate wrongdoing is located in a foreign country.
If you are a whistleblower, located here in the United States or abroad, interested in reporting customs fraud in America or the bribery of customs officials abroad, contact our office for a free initial legal consultation concerning your case.
Eric Young was interviewed for the January 16, 2017 edition of the Corporate Crime Reporter on the new auto whistleblower reward program established by Congress in 2015 as part of the FAST Act. With Takata and VW paying large fines to the U.S. Government in the past two weeks, it is a timely read.
Our Of Counsel, Deborah Rocco, has been certified as a specialist in the practice of workers’ compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Law Section. Less than 200 attorneys across the state of PA have earned the designation.
In 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved the PBA Workers’ Compensation Law Section as the first bar association entity in Pennsylvania to certify lawyers in the area of workers’ compensation law. Certification was granted to 149 lawyers who took the exam in 2013, 32 lawyers who took the exam in 2014, 20 lawyers who took the exam in 2015, and 18 who took the exam earlier this year. We are very pleased to announce that Deb was one of the 18.
Deb passed the certification examination that focuses on workers’ compensation law and rules and leading case law. She also successfully completed the 2016 certification process by submitting a variety of documents showing that at least 50 percent of her legal practice is in the specialty field of workers’ compensation, that she has practiced in the field for more than five years, and that she actively participates in Mandatory Continuing Legal Education in workers’ compensation law and related fields.
If you are in need of a Philadelphia worker’s compensation lawyer, you can learn more about Deb Rocco by visiting her online profile: click here.