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By Bob Van Voris

April 8 (Bloomberg) –- Randall Fox, the founding head of the Taxpayer Protection Bureau in New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, joined Kirby McInerney as a partner, the firm said.

Fox, who pursued claims of fraud on behalf of the state, including a $400 million whistleblower claim against Sprint Corp. for New York taxes the company allegedly failed to pay on monthly flat-rate charges for mobile phone service, joined Kirby McInerney’s New York office, according to a firm statement yesterday.

“We’re very excited to have him on board,” David Kovel, a Kirby McInerney partner overseeing many of the firm’s whistleblower cases, said in a phone interview.

In Schneiderman’s office, Fox concentrated on suits claiming the state was cheated in procurement contracts, grant programs, pension fund investments and unpaid taxes. Kovel said Fox’s addition is part of an expansion of the firm’s whistleblower practice.

Whistleblowers use laws including federal and state false claims acts to report fraud against the government in hopes of winning a percentage of the money recovered. New York-based Kirby McInerney represents investors, governmental units and whistleblowers in suits claiming securities fraud and antitrust violations, as well as in consumer, health-care and whistleblower suits.

In February, a Manhattan federal judge named Kirby McInerney to act as lead counsel in litigation over alleged manipulation of Brent crude oil prices. The investors in the suit claim that some of the world’s biggest oil companies, including BP Plc, Statoil ASA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, conspired with Morgan Stanley and energy traders including Vitol Group to manipulate spot prices for more than a decade.

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