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Posts Tagged ‘Fraud’

Court OKs AIG’s $450 million workers comp settlement

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 17, 2012

A good recovery, but the settlement leaves a potential $550 million in unrecovered funds

Rueters December 27, 2011

A federal judge has approved American International Group Inc’s (AIG.N) $450 million settlement with rival insurers to end litigation accusing AIG of underreporting premiums on workers’ compensation policies.

AIG will make the payment after rivals accused it of understating its market share in workers compensation to state insurance regulators, allowing it to shortchange state insurance pools by making lower contributions. Rivals claimed the understatements dated back to the 1980s.

Many states require firms that sell workers compensation insurance to also fund pools to cover injuries for workers at companies that cannot obtain coverage on the open market, in some cases because their jobs are too risky.

District Judge Robert Gettleman in Chicago approved the AIG settlement on December 21, calling it “fair, reasonable, and adequate.”

Final approval will take effect when Gettleman issues an opinion addressing a variety of issues in the case, the judge wrote.

Liberty Mutual Group had opposed the settlement, saying it concealed the true nature of AIG’s underreporting and the resulting damages.

A Liberty Mutual spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

AIG last December agreed to pay $146.5 million in fines, taxes and assessments in a settlement with all 50 U.S. states over alleged workers compensation reporting errors.

The case is Safeco Insurance Co of America et al v. American International Group Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 09-02026

Hat Tip to John Gelman at Workers Compensation blog

Posted in AIG and CNA | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Statement Concerning Filing of Amended Class Action Tax Misclassification Against Xe Services (formerly Blackwater) on Behalf of Personal Security Specialists for Loss of Benefits and Withholding, Expenses, Penalties, and Treble Damag

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 21, 2011

Scott Bloch files Amended Complaint against  Blackwater on behalf of thousands of former employees for unlawful, fraudulent and unconscionable treatment of employees in fraudulent misclassification as independent contractors

Washington DC  September 21, 2011

 Since 2007, Blackwater Industries, which has changed its name to Xe Services, has employed over 10,000 personal security specialists to perform operations in Iraq and Afghanistan under lucrative contracts with departments of the United States Government including the State Department and CIA. While employing these individuals, many of whom are decorated veterans of the armed services including Special Forces, Army Rangers, Navy Seals, Blackwater sought to avoid millions of dollars in taxes, withholding, and payments of benefits to these employees by classifying them improperly as independent contractors.

Yesterday, Scott Bloch filed an amended complaint in the class action lawsuit on behalf of four former security specialists, who were injured while working for Blackwater, in order to recover their payment of social security, unemployment insurance, and unpaid benefits and state and local withholding and unemployment insurance, and other unspecified damages. The action is brought on their own behalf and thousands of others who have worked for Blackwater and its newly named Xe Services. The action seeks $240,000,000 in damages for lost benefits, overtime, treble damages and punitive damages, as well as additional amounts as proved for the class of specialists.

The suit also states that one of the representative plaintiffs already had a determination from the IRS that Blackwater misclassified him as an independent contractor. “The IRS already determined in the case of one of my clients that he should have been classified as an employee,“ said Bloch. “Now thousands of people will have to file amended returns. Thousands of people will likely be entitled to benefits they were denied due to the misclassification, including payment of their employer share of pension, health and disability insurance premiums, and other plans that Blackwater filed with the government for its employees, promising it would not discriminate against those employees as they did here.”

“Blackwater made hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers and hired thousands of former veterans of military service and police officers. They also had in their ranks Federal Agents, such as current employees of the FBI on leave of absence. They were hired as security specialists in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Bloch. “It is a grave injustice to them who were mistreated and left without any health insurance or other benefits for their families, and left to fend for themselves in paying into Social Security and Medicare. They laid down their lives to protect dignitaries and carry out duties in support of wars for America, and they deserve better than this. Many of these same men risked their lives to protect everyone from the President of the United States to U.S. Senators, Congressman, U.S. Diplomats, to Foreign Presidential & Diplomatic Figures in one of the most dangerous places on the planet.”

One of the Plaintiffs guarded such dignitaries as the just assassinated Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani as well as current Secretary of State and then Senator Hillary Clinton.

“Blackwater acted illegally and unconscionably toward these brave individuals,” said Bloch. ”Through their fraud as pointed out in the Amended Complaint, they avoided overtime for security workers who worked sometimes 12-16 hours a day 6 days a week. They were forced to sign agreements they never read and were not given time to read and not given copies, which took away valuable rights and were unlawful in their terms.”

Read full PRESS RELEASE Amended Complaint against Xe Blackwater here.

Contact Scott J. Bloch, PA:

Scott Bloch, 202-496-1290

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Follow the Money, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Class Action Tax Misclassification filed against Xe, Formerly Blackwater

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 7, 2011

Scott Bloch blasts Blackwater on behalf of thousands of former employees who were mistreated and denied employee benefits, unemployment and other withholding based on a fraudulent misclassification as independent contractors.

Mercadante et al vs Xe Services, LLC et al

    Statement Concerning Filing of Class Action Tax  Misclassification Against Xe Services (formerly Blackwater) on
 Behalf of Personal Security Specialists for Loss of Benefits and Withholding

WASHINGTON, DC (June 7, 2011) –

Since 2007, Blackwater Industries, which has changed its name to Xe Services, has employed over 10,000 personal security specialists to perform operations in Iraq and Afghanistan under lucrative contracts with departments of the United States Government including the State Department and CIA.

While employing these individuals, many of whom are decorated veterans of the armed services including Special Forces, Army Rangers, Navy Seals, Blackwater sought to avoid millions of dollars in taxes, withholding, and payments of benefits to these employees by classifying them improperly as independent contractors.

Yesterday, Scott Bloch filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of four former security specialists, who were injured while working for Blackwater, in order to recover their payment of social security, unemployment insurance, and unpaid benefits and state and local withholding and unemployment insurance, and other unspecified damages.  The action is brought on their own behalf and thousands of others who have worked for Blackwater and its newly named Xe Services.

The action seeks $60,000,000 in damages and punitive damages, as well as additional amounts as proved for the class of specialists.

“These brave individuals who worked in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghani Enduring Freedom, deserve better than to be turned away without health insurance, pension benefits, unemployment benefits, and other withholding afforded to Blackwater’s other
employees,” said Scott Bloch.

According to the lawsuit, the United States treasury loses billions of dollars annually to misclassified employees.     Under the commonlaw and the IRS 20 questions put out in 1987 pursuant to a regulation, Blackwater was obliged to classify these individuals as employees if Blackwater had the right to control the employees’ actions, manner of performing duties,  hours, training, equipment, whether the duties of the employees go to a core function of the employer or are duties that are consider ancillary to the main purpose of the company, and other factors.

The lawsuit states that Blackwater provided their equipment, including weapons issued by the government, training, and control over employees’ duties, manner of performing their security  duties, operations they went on, protection details and other duties.

“These veterans were actually given diplomatic passports and classified as employees of Blackwater to the United States government in the contracts as they procured insurance required for employees, and also represented to the State Department that they were
employees,” said Bloch in a statement upon filing, “yet when it came to paying taxes, paying  their employer portion of social security and Medicare taxes that all Americans expect their employers to pay, they simply claimed they were independent contractors.”

The suit also states that one of the representative plaintiffs already had a determination from the IRS that Blackwater misclassified him as an independent contractor.  “The IRS already  determined in the case of one of my clients that he should have been classified as an
employee,“ said Bloch.  “Now thousands of people will have to file amended returns.   Thousands of people will likely be entitled to benefits they were denied due to the misclassification, including payment of their employer share of pension, health and disability
insurance premiums, and other plans that Blackwater filed with the government for its employees, promising it would not discriminate against those employees as they did here.”

In addition, claims the suit, the United States Congress previously held hearings under the Oversight and Government Reform committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, Chair, which determined that Blackwater and its related companies misclassified employees in order to avoid millions of dollars in taxes. In addition, the IRS prior to making the determination on the plaintiff in this suit, had ruled on behalf of other Blackwater security specialists, and related job titles, that Blackwater had misclassified these employees who performed services under contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Blackwater made hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers and hired thousands of former veterans of military service and police officers.  They also had in their ranks Federal Agents, such as current employees of the FBI on leave of absence. They were hired as security specialists in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Bloch. “It is a grave injustice to them who were  mistreated and left without any health insurance or other benefits for their families, and left to fend for themselves in paying into Social Security and Medicare.  They laid down their lives to protect dignitaries and carry out duties in support of wars for America, and they deserve better than this. Many of these same men risked their lives to protect everyone from the President of the United States to U.S. Senators, Congressman, U.S. Diplomats, to Foreign Presidential & Diplomatic Figures in one of the most dangerous places on the planet.”

The case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and covers individuals from all over the United States and some Americans living abroad, including all former and current Blackwater and Xe employees and so-called independent contractors.

Contact Scott J. Bloch, PA:
Scott Bloch, 202-496-1290

Law Offices of Scott J Bloch Website

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Political Watch, State Department, Taxes, Xe | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Bullshit as Science: The Fake Bad Scale

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 22, 2010

To be sure, we all know that there are malingerers out there: but the “Fake Bad Scale” is no help whatsoever in singling them out.

A Test for Malingerers by Workers Comp Insider

Paul Lees-Haley, PhD, is a psychologist who has come up with a 43 question test to separate the truly disabled from malingerers.

Lees-Haley is either a genius or a pompous fraud right out of Mark Twain. Read on and decide for yourself.

(This posting is based upon an article by David Armstrong in the Wall Street Journal, which limits access to subscribers.)

Lees-Haley studied the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), a standard tool for determining personality characteristics. He isolated 43 questions that he believes, taken together, clearly separate the truly disabled from malingerers and frauds. Lees-Haley’s brainchild, dubbed the “Fake Bad Scale” test, was developed in 1991 and is finding its way into courtrooms around the country.

Lees-Haley is available to testify in person on behalf of insurance companies as an expert witness. He charges $3,500 to evaluate a claimant and $600 per hour for depositions and testimony. Worth every penny, I’m sure, if his testimony results in the denial of benefits to a claimant.

Testing the Test
Below you will find a sample of questions from the test, requiring a “True” or False” response. A “T” before the question indicates a “true” response is indicative of malingering. Likewise for “false.”
F My sex life is satisfactory.
T I have nightmares every few nights.
F I have very few headaches.
F I have few or no pains.
T I have more trouble concentrating than others seem to have.
T I feel tired a good deal of the time.
F I am not feeling much pressure or stress these days.

You don’t need a PhD in psychology to identify the ambiguity and unfairness in these questions, which are typical of the test as a whole.

In the aftermath of an injury, someone might well feel stressed out, have difficulty concentrating, be tired much of the time and have frequent headaches. These responses do not necessarily indicate malingering.

They can just as easily be valid indicators of post-traumatic response to injury.

The “Fake Bad Scale” fails to account for anything that might have happened in the real world. Using this corrupt measure, every survivor of the 9/11 attacks would be deemed a “malingerer.”

Fortunately, the validity of the test has come under fire.

A number of courts have thrown it out. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that untold numbers of people who have answered these questions honestly have ended up being labeled (and libeled) as “malingerers.”

Shame on the attorneys who rely on this phony science, and shame on the insurance carriers who retain them. And double shame to the originators of the MMPI, who have formally given their stamp of approval to this inept tool.

To be sure, we all know that there are malingerers out there: but the “Fake Bad Scale” is no help whatsoever in singling them out.

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Misjudgements, Racketeering | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Insurer AIG agrees to massive $725m fraud payout

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 19, 2010

BBC

The US insurance giant AIG has agreed to pay $725m (£474m) to settle a long-running fraud case against it.

The settlement is likely to be one of the biggest in US history, following a class action lawsuit led by three Ohio pension funds.

They alleged that AIG had engaged in stock price manipulation, anti-competitive behaviour and accounting fraud between 1999 and 2005.

That, they say, resulted in shareholders losing millions.

The court now needs to give its approval before payments can be made.  Read the entire story here.

Posted in AIG and CNA, Follow the Money | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

War Fraud Whistleblowers Under Wraps

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 30, 2009

Monday 30 November 2009

Truthout

Recently, the Congressional Research Service released an amazing statistic – it will cost one million dollars a year to support one soldier for one year in Afghanistan.

This mind-blowing number partly includes the cost of private contractors who have moved into areas of support that have been strictly military in the past. Estimates for the numbers of contractors have been as high as one contractor for every soldier. As President Obama prepares to announce his decision on Afghanistan, the price of this war is also on his mind since he included Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, in his last war council.

One of the reasons for the high costs of maintaining each soldier is the lack of oversight of private contractor billings over the course of these two wars. The Department of Defense (DOD), and especially the Army, has fought the auditors and the investigators in the military who have attempted to expose fraud, waste, overbillings and other abuses of costs in contractor contracts. The contractors, using contingency contracting, which is similar to the old cost plus contracts, knew that their profits and, more important, their future task orders and contracts would be priced based on what they spend in the beginning of the wars. So the contractor billing meter, especially in labor costs, spun vigorously in the first years of the war with little oversight. When the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) tried to withhold a small percentage of payment from KBR, the largest contractor, because it believed that the billings were excessive and they wanted to scrub the numbers, the Army pushed past the DCAA and paid KBR the excessive costs. This set the tone to let the contractor billings run wild.

Click here to see Truthout’s Matt Renner interview Dina Rasor.

Click here to read full article by Dina Rasor at Truthout

Stay tuned . . . if you don’t hear about American war contracting fraud cases in the news, you will know that there is a group of very frustrated whistleblowers who cannot legally tell you what is going on with fraud in our wars.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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