Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "fraud" ...

  • ABC News Brian Ross Investigates: Herbalife: The Dream and the Reality

    Allegations have hovered for decades around the controversial nutritional products brand, Herbalife, but it took an undercover team from the ABC News to finally document the audacious promises of health and wealth that have helped transform the work-from-home company into a multi-billion-dollar global titan. The ABC News Investigative Team undertook its investigation at a pivotal time in Herbalife’s history -- as a major hedge fund had bet more than $1 billion that the company would collapse after being proven a fraud.
  • Dental Drama

    For nearly five years, the Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership (TMHP), a subsidiary of Xerox, allowed workers with limited expertise to approve dental claims for Texas’ Medicaid program, the joint state-federal insurer of poor children. State spending on orthodontic services spiraled out of control: Between 2003 and 2010, Texas Medicaid payments for orthodontic services grew by more than 3,000 percent — from $6.5 million to $220.5 million — while program enrollment only grew 33 percent. Our investigation found that three years later, the state’s aggressive campaign to recover misspent Medicaid dollars had failed to prove any dental providers intentionally committed fraud. Meanwhile, the state maintained its contract with TMHP, and continued to pay the company between $168 and $185 million annually to continue processing certain Texas Medicaid claims.
  • Despite multiple malpractice payouts, doctors often keep practicing

    This story looked at how effective medical boards are at stopping dangerous doctors from practicing medicine. We used a state database to identify the 25 Florida doctors with the most malpractice payouts since 2000. We then looked at how many of these doctors had been stopped from practicing by the Florida Board of Medicine. Turns out, just four of them lost their licenses - and three of those four only lost them after they had been arrested and charged with either drug trafficking or billing fraud. The fourth lost his license after he failed to comply with the terms of a lesser punishment. In other words, not a single one of them had been stopped from practicing due to poor medical care.
  • Gaming the Lottery

    The Palm Beach Post analyzed the Florida Lottery's 20-year database of winners and applied mathematical analysis to reveal that some people were winning the lottery too often, exposing fraud and forcing the lottery to make changes.
  • Medicare Unmasked

    The "Medicare Unmasked” series examined the $600 billion Medicare program, stemming from The Wall Street Journal’s legal and journalistic efforts to prod the government to publicly release doctor-billing data that had been kept secret for decades. A team of Journal reporters created numerous programs to analyze the government numbers, using them to spin out articles that uncovered medical abuses that cost taxpayers. The series had big impact. The CEO of a large laboratory resigned under pressure soon after the Journal revealed it used a controversial medical practice. The Journal also broke news of an FBI investigation into a medical practice the newspaper had identified as collecting far more from Medicare for a single procedure than any other medical provider. And an ousted Walgreen executive sued the drugstore giant alleging widespread Medicare-related abuses there, citing a Journal article that revealed a $1 billion forecasting error in Walgreen’s Medicare business. The Journal has been widely recognized for its Medicare efforts. Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times Public Editor, praised the Journal for its “time, expense and persistence” in pursuing the once-secret Medicare data, calling it a “cornerstone of investigative reporting."
  • Just sign here: Federal workers max out at taxpayers' expense

    FMCS is a tiny independent federal agency whose director's first order of business was to use federal funds to buy artwork from his own wife, $200 coasters and champagne. The agency paid $85,000 to the phantom company of a just-retired official for no services; spent $50,000 at a jewelry store, supposedly on picture frames to give its 200 employees "tenure awards;" and leased its people $53,000 cars. Large portions of its employees routinely used government credit cards for clearly personal items after merely requesting to have them “unblocked” from restricted items, according to 50,000 pages of internal documents obtained by the Washington Examiner--raising questions about purchase card use in other agencies. Federal employees were charging cell phones for their whole families and cable TV at not just their homes, but their vacation homes too, to the government. Its IT director has had hundreds of thousands of dollars of high-end electronics delivered to his home in West Virginia, and there is no record of many of those items being tracked to federal offices. Many other items billed are highly suspect, such as $500 for single USB thumb drives that retail for $20. Virtually all of its spending circumvented federal procurement laws. When employees pointed out rulebreaking, Director George Cohen forced one accountant to write a letter to the GSA retracting her complaint, had another top employee walked out by armed guards, and fired another whistleblower, a disabled veteran, for missing a day of work while she laid in the ICU. At an agency the size of FMCS, where corruption went to the top, there were no higher levels to appeal to, no Inspector General, and--previously--no press attention.
  • A Scooter Swindle?

    This piece uncovered Medicare fraud by The SCOOTER Store, the nation’s leading supplier of power wheelchairs. We spent months finding and interviewing former employees of the company. They told us The SCOOTER Store “bulldozed” doctors into writing prescriptions for wheelchairs, whether patients needed them or not. Relentless phone calls and in person visits wore doctors down. They also said the company ranked doctors based on whether they would prescribe chairs, and that it had a program specifically to get chairs for people that physicians had already deemed ineligible.
  • Indian Drug Company Investigation

    The first part of our story profiled a whistleblower who exposed massive fraud at Ranbaxy, a multi-billion dollar Indian generic drug company that sold adulterated drugs to millions of Americans for years. The company sold these drugs to millions of Americans while lieing to the FDA claiming the drugs worked and could fight such life threatening illnesses like cancer, AIDS, diabetes and infections. The second part of our story revealed that despite the company’s claims, the company has ongoing serious manufacturing problems. In fact, just two weeks after CBS left a Ranbaxy plant in India, the FDA banned all finished drugs coming into the US from Ranbaxy. However, our story also revealed that while the FDA banned all finished drugs, the company is still continues to make the key ingredients for drugs sold to Americans today– including such popular drugs as Astra Zeneca’s Nexium. At the center of our story was the whistleblower, Dinesh Thakur, who had never done a television interview. The risks that Thakur took in exposing his company led to a massive federal false claims lawsuit that aided the federal criminal investigation and rewarded Thakur with $49 million. According to one federal agent who worked on the case for seven years, without Thakur “there would have been no investigation and no criminal conviction.” We were alarmed to find in our reporting that so many of the key players in the federal investigation had made personal decisions based on what they learned to never take a Ranbaxy drug. Three Justice Department attorneys, six former Ranbaxy employees, one former FDA criminal investigator and two Congressional investigators (Democrat and a Republican) all told CBS News that they would never take a Ranbaxy drug, nor would they allow a family member to do so. Each shared with us personal anecdotes of finding Ranbaxy drugs in family members’ medicine cabinets or receiving a prescription at a drug store only to tell the pharmacist that they must have a different brand. For this reason we felt strongly that it was important to notify our audience of the risks with this company. We also informed our audience that foreign drug makers are not subject to the same strong oversight that drug makers in the US face every day. For example, drug makers in the US face unannounced inspections. Despite efforts to beef up foreign FDA inspections, foreign companies are still notified in advance of upcoming inspections. In the US there is one FDA inspector for every 9 phamaceutical facilities. In India there is one FDA inspector for every 105 facilities. CBS News also tracked down half a dozen other former Ranbaxy employees who told CBS what they witnessed at the company both in the United States and in India. Two top employees went on camera to share their experiences.
  • APTN Investigates: Plastic Shamans

    Are there bizarre cults operating among the people of Haida Gwaii? This region is among the most beautiful in Canada. It is home to one of the most powerful and progressive First Nations in Canada. And yet the community is divided by the presence of outside "healers" who claim they are helping the people heal from the legacies of colonialism and residential school. But others claim, the healers are fraudsters. Laura Duthiel is among those who says she has been involved in not just one but two separate and distinct groups. There is Earth Peoples United, lead by leader Erik Gonzalez - a man who claims to be a Mayan healer. But Duthiel says he uses drugs and peer pressure to keep her under his control. The other is a group called Psychology of Vision, offering a so-called spiritual health model created by a couple from Hawaii. Duthiel says their controversial techniques don't work As a result of speaking out and sounding the alarm, she says she's been shunned by many members of her community Because some of the groups' supporters say they are genuinely helping people. But Duthiel also has defenders, band members who say the groups are doing more harm than good; that they are nothing more than plastic healers.
  • The Fighters: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary

    "The Fighters" is a feature-length documentary looking at human trafficking in the Philippines. The two-year investigation into child prostitution, domestic servitude and allegations of fraud surround the country largest anti-slavery organization, stirred a massive response in the Asian nation.