Investigating a contemptible fraud

By James D. Ratley, CFE

jim-ratley-80x80.jpg   From the President and CEO

I've seen all kinds of fraud. Some are mind-numbing. Others are intriguing or preposterous. But only a few are truly contemptible. The cover story tells of a fraud that endangered the lives of the poorest of the poor while generating millions for the fraudsters.

On May 13, 2013, Ranbaxy USA Inc., a subsidiary of Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited, pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal counts of selling adulterated drugs with intent to defraud, failing to report that its drugs didn't meet specifications and making intentionally false statements to the government. Ranbaxy, in the largest drug safety settlement to date with a generic drug manufacturer, agreed to pay $500 million in fines, forfeitures and penalties.

Dinesh Thakur, a former research executive with Ranbaxy, blew the whistle on the company after his boss found that it had provided false data to the World Health Organization. Thakur, then a new employee, investigated and discovered a company culture that not only tolerated fraud but also apparently celebrated and encouraged it among its employees. His boss reported Thakur's results to the board, and he then later resigned in protest. Thakur also resigned after Ranbaxy falsely accused him of breaking company rules.

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