Undercover: How I Went from Company Man to FBI Spy--And Exposed the Worst Healthcare Fraud in U.S. History

Undercover: How I Went from Company Man to FBI Spy--And Exposed the Worst Healthcare Fraud in U.S. History

Undercover: How I Went from Company Man to FBI Spy--And Exposed the Worst Healthcare Fraud in U.S. History

Undercover: How I Went from Company Man to FBI Spy--And Exposed the Worst Healthcare Fraud in U.S. History

Synopsis

When John Schilling, an unassuming mid-level accountant, went to work for the Columbia Hospital Corporation, he never expected to become the catalyst for the series of whistleblower cases that ripped through the healthcare industry in the late 1990s. But when he unwittingly discovered that the company was siphoning billions of dollars away from Medicare and stealing from American taxpayers, he was faced with a choice: Speak up for what he believed to be right, or remain silent. Undercovertells the story of Schillings harrowing journey from ordinary citizen to federal informant. The book recounts how Schilling allied himself with the FBI and the Justice Department andunable to confide in friends or familyjourneyed into an undercover world in which he carried a wire and mapped out offices for secret government raids. Suspenseful and provocative, Undercoverchronicles Schillings nine-year ordeal that eventually led to the resignation of high-level executives and forced Columbia to return $1.7 billion dollars to the federal government. A compelling account of one mans decision to risk everything for the greater good, this book reveals the personal side of a thankless role that resulted, ultimately, in justice.

Excerpt

What is it about whistleblowers? What makes them take bold and risky actions most of us would never even consider? When faced with the unethical and even criminal conduct of big healthcare corporations cheating the government, most people would simply say, “It's not my job,” without further thought to the financial and human costs of such actions. Perhaps we are too trusting of “the system” and believe in the karmic law that all the bad people will be caught eventually. Perhaps we are reluctant to complicate our lives.

When I was a boy, my grade school teachers enthralled me with tales of the brave and daring individuals whose selfless actions and upstanding principles built our country. I dreamed of a time when I too might face similar challenges and wondered how I would respond to the test. Would I take a stand, make a difference, and contribute to our common good? Or would I back down, shrink from that responsibility, and melt back into the masses?

Then it happened: That crisis of conscience presented itself. I came face-to-face with a huge corporate behemoth operating with reckless disregard for human life and public laws. Through many unexpected twists of fate, I'd uncovered a scheme to defraud the federal government. So now I had to choose. Would I simply accept the situation as something inevitable that I could not change? Or would I try to move some mountains? If I chose the latter course, how could one person turn the tide against a large, powerful, and well-financed adversary?

The answer for me could be found in a once obscure federal law signed by Abraham Lincoln and dating back to the Civil War. It is called the False Claims Act, also known as the qui tam law, and it was created to encour-

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