“My Life Is Over”: Former Justice Department Official Caught Attempting To Sell Whistleblower Cases
A former Justice Department lawyer specializing in corporate-fraud was handed a 30-month prison sentence for attempting to sell stolen information to over 40 whistleblower cases in 2016.
Jeffrey Wertkin, 40, was arrested in an undercover sting after an attorney for a Sunnyvale, CA tech company contacted the FBI in January following Wertkin’s offer to sell them a sealed federal lawsuit for $310,000, according to court documents. As he was taken into custody wearing a wig and fake mustache at a Cupertino, CA hotel by FBI Special Agent William Scanlon, Wertkin reportedly said “My life is over.” […]
Wertkin – who specialized in healthcare fraud, planned his brazen scheme as he was leaving his job of nearly six years as a DOJ fraud prosecutor in April 2016 to join the law firm Akin Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld as a $450,000 / year partner in Washington. He began copying files for over a month before leaving the agency – including dozens of federal cases that weren’t assigned to him, according to court records.
From his position at Akin Gump, Wertkin attempted to net potential clients by dangling the stolen information. When that tactic bore no fruit, he stepped up his efforts – reaching out to a targeted Alabama company for $50,000, a New York company for an undetermined price, and an Oregon company to which he mailed a redacted copy of the cover sheet in their federal case as bait.
“Mr. Wertkin’s secret criminal life was not known to anyone at the firm. We were shocked when he was arrested and outraged when his bizarre, treacherous crimes were revealed,” said a spokesman for Akin Gump Thursday.
The disgraced lawyer has since resigned from the bar.
“I hope someday I will be able to understand how I could have abandoned my principles and my honor,” Wertkin said prior to his sentencing.
“I often lay awake at night and think about these actions, and I weep at the tragedy that I have brought on myself.”