A whistleblower will collect a $51 million payday after sounding the alarm about bribes and kickbacks at the medical device company where he worked.
Olympus Corporation of the Americas agreed Tuesday to pay $646 million in fines after it admitting to a pattern of bribery and kickbacks. About half of that fine was a criminal penalty for violating the federal anti-kickback statue, making it the largest amount ever paid for breaking that law. The payment to the whistleblower will be paid out of the company’s fines.
John Slowik, 53, worked for 20 years for Olympus, which is the medical device unit of the Japanese company that also makes cameras. In 2009 he was named the company’s compliance officer. But he said that his complaints about the company’s policy of disguising payments as grants and lavishing expensive trips and entertainment on doctors and hospital administrators in order to sell equipment fell on deaf ears within the company.
Slowik was fired in 2010, and has not worked since, according to his lawyer, Kathryn Schilling. But he filed a sealed federal lawsuit, using the federal whistleblower act, on behalf of the federal government, which was being cheated by the company’s illegal acts.