Chicago Attorney Michael I. Behn Teams Government Agents with Whistleblowers at Training to Target Billions Stolen by Fraud

“Whistleblowers know where the bodies are buried,” said Michael I. Behn, a Chicago trial lawyer. “But instead of uncovering shallow graves, whistleblowers uncover a key email or foreign bank account that can blow a fraud case wide open.”

It was like something out of a movie. In a non-descript government facility here in Chicago, Illinois, badge-bearing government agents were working with undercover informants to learn about billion-dollar fraud schemes cheating taxpayers.

The agents and whistleblowers targeted “Fraudsters” – the companies that steal from government programs through fraud — at a training session given by the Illinois Association of Inspectors General. The Inspectors General are government agents tasked with rooting out fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer funds.

“Whistleblowers know where the bodies are buried,” said Michael I. Behn, a Chicago trial lawyer. “But instead of uncovering shallow graves, whistleblowers uncover a key email or foreign bank account that can blow a fraud case wide open.” Behn, a former federal prosecutor, has been representing whistleblowers for decades. He founded the Behn & Wyetzner law firm and is of counsel to Siprut PC, both in Chicago. Behn gave the government agents tips for best utilizing whistleblowers in their investigations. (See http://www.BehnWyetzner.com and http://www.Siprut.com)

The Inspectors General also heard from James Holzrichter, who had worked as an undercover agent for the government. His case ultimately resulted in Northrop Grumman paying back $134 million, the largest settlement in Illinois that year. Holzrichter poignantly explained the challenges faced by him and his family through his involvement in the case, which took 17 years to resolve. Holzrichter and his family ended up homeless for an extended period, he and his wife working seven jobs just to stay afloat. Holzrichter’s case, brought in Chicago’s federal court, is titled United States ex rel. Robinson and Holzrichter v. Northrop Grumman (No. 89 C 6111).

“Jim is an American hero, and I don’t use that term lightly.” said Behn, who represented Holzrichter for over a decade. “He and his family sacrificed their own well-being to stand up for integrity in providing our national…

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