“Men must turn square corners when they deal with the Government.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, United States Supreme Court Justice
Profits Over Patriotism
The United States government and its citizens depend on contractors of all types to provide products and services required for our country to thrive. The nature of these contracts – being funded by the public – impose a special responsibility on the private persons and entities that undertake them. This responsibility dictates that contractors be good stewards of public funds and trust, because more than just our money is at stake. The lives of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen are on the line. The health and welfare of our children and the quality of their education is on the line. The safety of our highways, preservation of our parks, and very infrastructure of our nation is on the line.
Unfortunately, the trust of the American people is all too often betrayed by those who put profits over patriotism. The False Claims Act (FCA) – the statutory tool that since its inception has been recognized as the most effective weapon for targeting fraud against the Government – had its genesis during the Civil War, when President Lincoln and Congress sought to target unscrupulous contractors who knowingly sold faulty, worthless goods to the United States Army. Only the size of Government expenditure and scale of the attendant fraud have changed since that time.
Instances of contracting fraud and its successful prosecution are as diverse as the goods and services the U.S. obtains from private contractors. Government contracts and federal procurement FCA cases accounted for $1.1 billion in fraud settlements and judgments in fiscal year 2015, bringing procurement fraud totals to nearly $4 billion from January 2009 to the end of the 2015 fiscal year.
Common FCA cases arising from contracting fraud involve government contractors overcharging the government for products or services, or billing the government for products and services not actually provided. Government contractors are in general required to offer the government the same or similar discounts and pricing that the contractors offer to private companies. Other contracting fraud schemes include offering misrepresentations to the United States, in violation of such Federal statutes as the Buy American Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, or the Truth in Negotiations Act.
Frohsin Barger & Walthall has significant experience dealing with a range of Government contracts and fraud allegations. The firm was founded in Alabama, home to NASA’s Marshal Space Flight Center, Anniston Army Depot, Redstone Arsenal, Fort Rucker, Maxwell Air Force Base, and the Port of Mobile. Since our founding, we have investigated and handled government contracting fraud across the globe, from Alaska to Afghanistan.