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Mary Ann E. Rohan; Whistle-blower

April 30, 1993

Mary Ann E. Rohan, a former clerk for Litton Industries Inc. who sued the defense contractor for allegedly ignoring her evidence that another employee was embezzling funds, has died at a Northridge hospital. She was 58.

A longtime Reseda resident, Rohan died Tuesday of chronic lung disease, said a family representative.

Born in St. Louis, Rohan worked as an accounting clerk in Litton's Guidance and Control Systems division in Woodland Hills from February to July, 1989, when, she alleged in court documents, she was forced to take a medical leave of absence after the company harassed her for exposing embezzlements by a senior planner in the engineering department.

The planner, Robert J. Newbert, pleaded guilty in October, 1990, to two counts of making false statements, and he admitted embezzling more than $200,000 from the company. Newbert agreed to reimburse Litton $215,000 and served 13 months of a 16-month sentence in federal prison.

After Newbert's conviction, Rohan sued Litton and Newbert in February, 1991, under the federal False Claims Act, which Congress amended in 1986 to encourage citizens to blow the whistle on defense contractors whom they suspect of defrauding the government. In 1992, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed Litton from the suit, ruling that Rohan failed to present enough evidence to show that the company knew or should have known about the embezzlement. Rohan later dropped the suit against Newbert but appealed the decision to dismiss Litton from the case.

According to Rohan's attorney, Louis J. Cohen, oral arguments were heard before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on April 7 on that motion. Cohen described Rohan as "a real believer in doing the right thing."

She is survived by a daughter, Donnaire of Northridge; several brothers and sisters and two granddaughters.

Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m. today at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, 11160 Stranwood Ave., Mission Hills. San Fernando Mortuary in San Fernando is handling the arrangements.

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