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Common Responses to Defense Contract Fraud Whistleblower Cases

whistleblower cases

whistleblower casesIn recent years, there has been an increase in whistleblower cases filed by the Department of Defense. This is in part a result of a heavier reliance on private security companies and contractors. The result has been an increase of defense contract fraud. When a contractor or company employed by the department of defense is engaging in illegal, fraudulent, or dangerous activities, their actions qualify as defense contract fraud.

Examples of Defense Contract Fraud

One example of such behavior could include billing the Department of Defense for services never performed. Furthermore, mismanaging government funds, or abusing their power as a government contractor also qualify. All of these actions, along with any illegal or unsafe activities, deserve punishment. However, the inspector general of the Department of Defense cannot have eyes everywhere. Because of this, they rely heavily on military members, government employees, and defense intelligence employees to report any evidence of misconduct by defense contractors.

Corrupt contractors may succeed in making a profit off of their illegal activities. However, the government prosecutes defense contract fraud harshly. Whistleblower cases can have various results, in some cases they end in a settlement while in others, a judge passes judgement.

Common Results of Defense Contract Fraud Whistleblower Cases

Below are some results of whistleblower cases associated with defense contract fraud:

  • The defendant responsible for illegal use of government funds will plead guilty before the case goes to court. In a guilty plea, there is agreement on a settlement. These settlements are usually large. They represent of the amount of money the government lost as a result of their illegal activity. Whistleblowers involved in these cases are eligible for fifteen to 25 percent of recovered funds.
  • The defendant will maintain their innocence and a lawsuit against them goes to court. If there is a guilty verdict, the defendant could pay damages well above the amount of money they stole. Any whistleblowers involved in the case are eligible for fifteen to 25 percent of the recovered funds.
  • The defendant will maintain their innocence and a lawsuit against them goes to court. If there is an innocent verdict, they will not have to pay any damages to the United States government. If a whistleblower was involved in the case, they will not be offered any type of reward for their actions.

Any whistleblower case resulting in repayment of illegally obtained government funds is a success. However, in order to succeed, whistleblowers need adequate evidence of fraud and a talented defense contract fraud lawyer. When you hire the right lawyer, they can help you gather evidence. This will increase your chances of winning your lawsuit.

Find out what you need to know about whistleblower cases by calling 770.643.1606 to connect with our team at Bothwell Law Group.

Will the Whistleblower Protection Law Be in Effect for Defense Contract Fraud?

Whistleblower Protection Law

Whistleblower Protection LawIn 2013, the legal landscape for defense federal contractors, particularly those working with the Department of Defense, changed regarding the whistleblower protection law. On July 1, 2013, a new law amendment was passed, extending federal whistleblower protections to federal contract employees of vendors who made any eligible report associated with abuse, fraud, or waste of government resources. Before then, thousands upon thousands of contract employees worked alongside regular federal employees but did not share in the same whistleblower protections the regular employees enjoyed – even though they worked in the same agency.

Important Whistleblower Protection Law Changes

The eligibility of protections starts at the moment the vendor employee makes a report of wrongdoing to his or her supervisor. Once the report is made, the supervisor and the vendor are then responsible to act on it if substantiated, and correct the matter.

Prior to the 2013 change, a vendor employee only had three options for reporting:

The IG approach worked under most circumstances, but sometimes vendor staff worked in their own company offices and had no access to an agency contract manager or a member of Congress. The new law was embedded in the annual defense funding legislation of 2013, expanding protections to all Defense contractors and their staff. The intelligence side of government, however, was enacted under a time-limited version of the same protections.

What Does the Whistleblower Law Change Mean?

Before the new law was passed, defense contractor employees faced the potential of being fired on the spot with no warning and no recourse. They had none of the protections available to federal civil employees.

They weren’t left helpless though – they had (and still have) rights under the Federal False Claims Act, a separate federal law. The False Claims Act allows private citizens to bring recovery lawsuits against contractors if the Department of Justice refuses to carry the case itself. Of course, that right couldn’t keep a whistleblower from being fired first – and without an income, pursuing the case would be tough. Many attorneys will only represent a whistleblower if their fees are paid up-front, rather than taking the case on a contingency basis.

Expanded Investigation Powers in Whistleblower Cases

From an investigation perspective, the 2013 law changed the landscape of the Inspector General’s reach as well. Prior to the law, the IG’s hands were tied when it came to getting the facts of the case.

Under the new law, the IG’s staff can interview far more vendor witnesses than before to seek evidence of retaliation. No surprise, the Whistleblower Protection Law change is expected to increase the number of reports as defense vendor employees become aware of the new protections. This could turn out to be a big deal, because overall, defense contractor staff significantly outnumbers federal civil employees in the same programs and agencies.

To understand in detail how the recent Whistleblower Protection Law changes impact your company, call for a free consultation today. We can discuss how this new law impacts employees of contractors.