Erika A. Kelton has substantial experience representing whistleblowers both in the U.S. and abroad in cases involving fraud against the U.S. government and those involving claims brought under whistleblower reward programs with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
Ms. Kelton’s successful cases include:
- A record-setting qui tam case against Pfizer Inc. for illegally marketing the painkiller, Bextra. Pfizer paid $1.8 billion in 2009 to settle that case and a related criminal fine. The settlement was the biggest piece of a global settlement of several whistleblower cases by Pfizer for $2.3 billion -- the largest healthcare fraud settlement ever in the U.S.;
- The IRS whistleblower claim of a confidential tax informant, known as “Mr. ABC,” who provided the Internal Revenue Service with important information about fraudulent tax shelters set up by Wall Street investment firms and who testified on the matter before the Senate Finance Committee. The complex tax schemes cost the U.S. Treasury hundreds of millions of dollars;
- A whistleblower case brought on behalf of a former investment banker against numerous Wall Street banks involving IRS prohibitions against tax-exempt municipal bond arbitrage and violations of securities laws. The case, which exposed the widespread practice of “yield-burning” on Wall Street, returned more than $200 million to the U.S. Treasury; and
- A whistleblower lawsuit against Wall Street investment giant Mario Gabelli that alleged he and affiliated companies set up sham companies to qualify for certain telecom licenses. Mr. Gabelli and his associates paid a $130 million settlement.
As an expert in whistleblower enforcement approaches, Ms. Kelton has consulted with the U.S. Congress, the Securities Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Internal Revenue Service on the establishment and workings of the agencies’ whistleblower programs.
Ms. Kelton is frequently interviewed by journalists for her expertise in whistleblower matters involving the False Claims Act, the IRS whistleblower program and the Dodd-Frank whistleblower reward programs at the SEC and the CFTC, and she has published several articles and op-eds on those subjects. She often has been quoted both by U.S. media – including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal – and by media in other countries, such as Valor Economico (Brazil), the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitungi (Germany), the BBC, The Financial Times and Australian Public Radio.
Ms. Kelton graduated in 1987 from the University of California Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). From 1987 to 1994 she was associated with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in Washington D.C.