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Can a Whistleblower Law Firm Help Me in a Defense Contract Fraud Case?

whistleblower law firm

whistleblower law firmMany do not understand the purpose and capabilities of a whistleblower law firm. Not only do whistleblower attorneys have the ability to defend in qui tam cases, but such lawyers can also serve as a fortification in instances where defense contract fraud exists.

About Defense Contract Fraud

Defense contract fraud occurs when a private entity sells faulty goods to the government at ridiculously high marked prices. Selling cheap weaponry for three times its worth to armed forces could fall under defense fraud.  For example, if the seller intentionally invoiced the items at above market price for the sole purpose of making an additional profit.

Rules regarding contracts between government entities and private companies were first put in the books during the Civil War. It was during this time that the uniform store that the armed forces used to clothe its men began using cheap fabric that did not endure the pressures of war. The company charged the government prices that one would pay for quality fabric all while using material that easily ripped. As a result, executives in parliament added a section to the False Claims Act that sought to protect and reward citizens who blew the whistle on companies that operated under such unfair practices.

Determining a Case for Fraud with a Whistleblower Law Firm

Typically a contracted company will attempt to take advantage of its government agency agrements in one of three ways:

  1. The company will cross-charge the agency. Instead of simply invoicing a flat fee for services, a business may charge a standard fee plus hourly wages. Companies that operate this way tell employees to log time after charging the government fees that are meant to cover hourly wages.
  2. The business will substitute products. Such substitutions tend to be at the expense of the government. Instead of using a high-quality material as stipulated in the agreement, the company will cut corners to save money. The government, in essence, suffers due to paying more money for products that will last half the time.
  3. The business will not properly allocate time spent between working for the government and another company. This form of defense contract fraud usually occurs when the project requires a partnership between the government and a corporation. Instead of recording time spent working for the two entities separately, the company in question may invoice the government for all hours worked. Such action leaves the government paying for the entire job even though another company shared in expenses incurred.

The Importance of the Whistleblower in Defense Contract Fraud

Millions of taxpayer dollars go to companies that use devious practices to receive pay from the government. An individual who sounds the alarm on such practices saves the country money.  They also assist in helping funds go to more deserving programs in defense. A whistleblower law firm can help in fighting fraud by connecting citizens with experienced counsel that can conduct thorough research.

Are you aware of defense contract fraud and need to know how to proceed? Learn more about what whistleblower law firms can do for you by contacting Bothwell Law Group today.

What’s the History of the US False Claims Act and Why Does it Matter?

US False Claims Act

US False Claims ActThe US False Claims Act is responsible for returning billions of dollars stolen from the US government. When people commit fraud against the government, with the knowledge they are doing so, they violate the US False Claims Act. The law has been on the books since Abe Lincoln was in the White House. It has many different aspects to it and can bring millions of dollars in reward.

What Brought about the False Claims Act in US History?

The US False Claims Act was enacted March 2, 1863, at the request of President Lincoln. The amount of money the government was spending for military needs was skyrocketing from fraud. There were stories of sawdust sold as ammunition. There was fresh paint thrown on old warships that were no longer seaworthy and then sold as new to the Navy. The fraud was hampering the Union war effort and considered as traitorous behavior.

With the US False Claims Act, Lincoln hoped to help root out fraud against the government. He wanted to encourage private citizens who knew about fraud against the government to come forward. This coming forward is called the qui tam or whistleblower part of the act.  Qui tam is a Latin phrase that roughly means to “bring action on behalf of the king”…in other words, bringing the fraud to the court system on behalf of the government. This person, known as the relator, is also in line for a reward.

Back in 1863, the person who knowingly submitted a false claim against the government could be hit with charges equal to double the amount of the damages plus $2,000 for each false claim, as an extra penalty. The person who brought the charges to the government could receive half the amount awarded.

Has the US False Claims Act Stayed the Same?

The law remained unchanged for 80 years. In 1943, Congress took action again. They changed the qui tam, or whistleblower, part of the act. Congress slashed the amount of the relator’s reward. Besides removing the compensation, lawmakers put stipulations on relating the crime to the government if there was any prior knowledge of the fraud. Prior knowledge meant that if any government document alluded to the scam, the relator was cut out of the deal altogether. It’s no surprise that with no real reward for coming forward, the law fell into disuse. Fraud against the government did not.

What Is the Status of the US False Claims Act Today?

The law remained in the weeds until the mid-1980s. Stories of the Navy paying $435 for a hammer and $640 for a toilet seat hit the news. In 1985, we found out nine of the top ten Department of Defense contractors were under investigation for fraud. Congress took action when the government couldn’t stop the abuse. They changed the False Claims Act so relators would again see a significant reward for coming forward. Congress also added provisions to protect the whistleblower from retaliation from his employer for coming forward.

Today, the US False Claims Act allows anyone with knowledge of a fraud against the government to bring the information forward in a qui tam case. The government investigates the claim under a seal, so no one knows the investigation is happening. If the government believes there is a case, they take over from that point. The relator can receive a reward of 15-30% of the amount of the damages.

The penalties for committing fraud against the government have increased a lot. Today, the penalty is three times the amount of the fraud, plus an extra penalty of $5,000 to $10, 000 per instance. The defendant also covers the relator’s legal fees when the case results in a payout.

Also, if the government decides not to intervene in a case and take it on, the whistleblower and their attorney can choose to move forward on their own.

Congress amended the law again in 2006, further defining the terms of liability. There are many different areas the US False Claims Act covers including Medicare, Medicaid, nursing home fraud, government contractor fraud, and misrepresenting the value of imported goods. Other areas covered include billing for brand-name drugs and supplying generic drugs, using wrong coding for billing medical procedures, rebate scams on prescription drugs and more. The key to guilt is committing the fraud knowing it is illegal or acted with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of a claim.

If you have knowledge of a False Claims Act violation, you need to talk to an attorney who has experience with this type of case. There is there a potential reward of a large sum of money. Also, not coming forward can make you complicit in the fraud if you are aware of it and do not act. Have questions about US False Claims Act violations? Contact the Bothwell Law Group online today.

The Single Most Important Thing to Know about State False Claims Acts

State False Claims Acts

State False Claims ActsState False Claims Acts vary from state to state. It’s critical to have an attorney who knows how they work to help you get the proper rewards. Without this attorney, you may feel very overwhelmed and maybe even a little lost.

Most things in life have lessons to learn and important things to know to do them in the best possible way. Babies are like that. When you bring that tiny little bundle home for the first time, it’s easy to be panic stricken over all the important things you don’t know.

State False Claims Acts are a lot like the first day with your new baby. There are a few critical things to remember. Your state’s False Claims Acts attorney will handle the rest.

Different states’ False Claims Acts are going to be different. You need to understand the most important factors stay the same. Having an attorney who knows those important factors will help you build a strong case against the fraudulent crime committed against your state government.

What Are State False Claims Acts?

The most important thing to know about state False Claims Act cases is every state has different types of False Claims Act cases they handle. Not every state handles every kind of False Claims Act fraud.

State False Claims Acts laws were created to bring suit on behalf of state governments when fraud takes place.  In response, the government allows the whistleblower part of the money recovered in court, called the reward.

At first, whistleblower or False Claims Act claims could only be filed on behalf of the federal government. Unfortunately, fraud is also committed against state agencies as well. Now people who notify their state government of fraud, known as relators, are eligible for rewards and protections as well.

Why Do I Need a State False Claims Acts Attorney?

False Claims Act cases are complicated. They must follow an exact strategy, or the government will not advocate for the case. Your chance of a successful lawsuit is increased mightily when the government steps in. Stepping in or intervening means the state decides a crime is happening. An experienced attorney knows how to structure the complaint to persuade the government to take the lead.

When state funds are stolen through fraud, your attorney needs to know how the specifics of your state laws function. Not every state has False Claims Act laws. In the states that do have them, the details can vary a lot. One of the biggest differences between states is many of them only allow False Claims Act suits for particular types of fraud.

Why Are the States Involved in False Claims Acts?

Fraudulent claims against Medicaid are some of the most common types of False Claims Acts against states. Almost every state has provision for these kinds of suits. State funding for Medicaid comes from the federal government. Because of this transfer of funding, states need to take on the responsibility to investigate fraud.

In 2006, the Deficit Reduction Act was enacted. This act contained incentives for states to create anti-fraud legislation fashioned after the federal False Claims Act. Although many states created legislation, it is usually not modeled on the federal laws.

State administrators are the primary party responsible for preventing fraud against Medicaid. But, unless their state laws changed to follow the federal laws, they are no longer eligible for any financial incentives. It isn’t a new tradition for the state to oversee fraud. The federal government should be in an overseer position and has been for decades. The federal government encourages states to work as hard as possible to search out fraud. They offer financial incentives to this end.

Unfortunately, the instances of fraud are not always readily apparent due to the sheer numbers of Medicaid cases requiring monitoring. Because of this, frauds against state Medicaid take place unfettered. By bringing the information to a state False Claims Act attorney, you can prepare a case for your state Attorney General. If the state intervenes on your behalf, they will conduct the anonymous investigation and the court action. You will receive a portion of any money recovered.

At Bothwell Law Group, we have lawyers trained and experienced in state False Claims Act cases. We will sit down with you and discuss the potential of your case. Our attorneys will direct you toward the type of evidence needed to file a case. They will provide support every step of the way. You’ll find your fears will fade as our attorneys come alongside and handle the details for you.

The law says your employer cannot retaliate against you. Our attorneys will help you protect your rights. Contact our legal team at Bothwell Law Group online today to learn more about State False Claims Acts.