As a government employee, you’re on the lookout for signs of defense contractor fraud. But what exactly does it look like?
Will you know the signs of defense contractor fraud if you see them? You care about the American people. You don’t like to see government funds go to waste, and this includes identifying and stopping defense contractor fraud. In your work with defense contractors, you might have questions about different charges to your office, but can you recognize them as fraud?
Learn about the most common signs of defense contractor fraud, and what to do if you think one of your contractors is guilty of fraudulent behavior.
Signs of Defense Contractor Fraud
What should you look for when it comes to contractor fraud? There are many signs, but here are some of the most common indicators that something is amiss:
Receiving sub-par materials:
You know the standards set for the materials you receive from your contractors. If you notice that the materials are consistently not up to par, it’s a possible sign of fraud. This is especially concerning if your contractor bills you for higher quality, more expensive material, and delivers a lower quality, less expensive material. Double-check the original contract to see the agreed upon materials and compare that to what was actually received. If there’s a discrepancy that wasn’t communicated and approved by your office, it’s possible what you’re seeing is fraud in action.
Billing a lot of hours for a small amount of work:
In the contracts that your office has with its contractors, there should be an estimate for the number of hours that different jobs should take. It’s normal for the estimated hours and the actual hours to differ slightly, as it’s impossible for a contractor to predict precisely how long every job will take. If you notice huge discrepancies such as doubling or tripling of the hours expected, fraud is likely. Fraud can occur even before the final bill. Some contractors grossly overestimate the number of hours a job will take. These cases are harder to prove.
Failing to complete required tests:
Contractors test materials before giving them to the government. It’s normal for contractors to bill the government for these tests. This can include labor, replacement parts, and materials fees. There are two different types of fraudulent activity when it comes to testing. One is to report unnecessary tests, whether performed or not. The contractors bill the government for more materials, labor, and parts than initially stated. The other type of testing fraud is to skip testing altogether. This can be dangerous, especially when skipping tests on military equipment or hazardous chemicals. There have been many cases of injured or killed military personnel due to improper testing on military equipment. You owe it to the men and women who serve our country to report improper equipment testing procedures and the possibility of contractor testing fraud.
If you spot what you think is defense contractor fraud, be sure to record the information you have to back-up your case. The more detail you record, the more easily the government will be able to investigate your claim. If you feel comfortable, let your supervisor know that you’re suspicious of fraud and that you’re keeping an eye on a particular contractor. Your supervisor may be able to help by providing information. You may want to tread carefully here, especially if your supervisor has a close relationship with any of the contractors or may be a complicit part of the fraudulent activity.
Reporting Defense Contractor Fraud
If you’re suspicious of defense contractor fraud, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do with the information you’ve gathered. Your first step is to decide how you’d like to report. There are two ways to report defense contractor fraud: through a government hotline, and through qui tam or false claims via a qui tam attorney. Both options have benefits and drawbacks. An attorney can help you decide which type of reporting is most beneficial for your personal situation.
If you’re reporting through a government hotline, you’ll be anonymous. Your complaint will go up a chain of command, and the Department of Defense will investigate the claim. If you file a suit with the False Claims Act, also known as qui tam, the government must investigate the potential fraud. As a whistleblower, qui tam laws entitle you to a part of the funds recouped by the government if the accused is guilty of fraud. Qui tam laws also protect you, your job, and your assets during the process of the trial.
Don’t Report Alone
If you think you’ve spotted signs of defense contractor fraud, don’t wait to act, and don’t act alone. You need lawyers on your side who understand how complicated qui tam laws work. It’s important that you get the money you deserve for doing the right thing and blowing the whistle on fraud. Contact the skilled defense contractor fraud attorneys at Bothwell Law Group today and get the right team on your side.