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Whistleblower ignores death threat, reports fraud and prevails

We don't know where being burned alive ranks on the list of worst possible ways to go, but it must be near or at the top. Far from Milwaukee, a mortuary worker was threatened with being cremated alive if he revealed ongoing fraud committed by his employer.

A judge recently ruled in a whistleblower lawsuit that the owner of Abanks Mortuary and Crematory must pay $15 million. Of that sum, the man who blew the whistle on fraud will receive $4 million, according to a news report.

The report in the Insurance Journal also states that the federal government will receive the remaining $11 million in the decision.

The Alabama mortuary company and its owner did not respond to a request for comment on the qui tam lawsuit decision.

The whistleblower reported that the company paid kickbacks to officials with the Alabama Organ Center in exchange for referrals to the Birmingham business. The mortuary and funeral home collected tissue samples for the organ center.

An attorney for the whistleblower said his client was threatened for trying to report fraud and do the right thing. “This was one of the most horrifying cases I’ve seen involving intimidation and retaliation against a whistleblower,” the attorney said.

According to the news report, the crematory’s owner was acquitted on theft charges two years ago, but two former organ center officials pled guilty and were sentenced to prison back in 2012.

It takes courage and help to stand up and point out fraud. Schedule a free initial consultation with the law offices of Alan C. Olson & Associates, s.c. to discuss your legal options.

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