False Claims Act
Protect Your Rights. Call 202-827-9750 for a FREE Initial Consultation.
Facing an allegation of False Claims Act violations or procurement fraud exposes your company to criminal penalties and risk for your company’s future income. Not all allegations have legal merit. Given the high stakes, you want to ensure that your rights are protected and that you respond correctly to such fraud allegations. With law offices in Washington, DC and Colorado, the False Claims Act defense and government contract law attorneys at Watson & Associates provide legal defense to large and small businesses facing the daunting experience. Our goal is to take you through the process, adequately respond to respective inquiries while protecting your legal rights.
Our procurement law attorneys can aggressively defend you against allegations of government contract violation. Our attorneys serve in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland and nationwide.
- Civil False Claims Act
- Criminal False Claims Act
- Litigation defense
- False Claims Act defense
- Defective pricing
- Anti-Corruption Act Defense
- Export Administration matters
- Traffic in Arms Regulations
- Policy and compliance
- Acting on your behalf with the agency
- Billing disputes
- Health care fraud allegations
- Cost accounting guidance & Services
- Contractor defense
- Defend against the Agency’s mere accusation of a scheme
- Overcome Agency failure to meet the burden of proof
- Renew your company’s reputation
- Minimize the possibility of criminal penalties
- Capture commonly overlooked defenses to a false claims act charge.
- Properly defend your case if due to properly exercised business judgment.
Call our government contract lawyers in Washington, D.C. to immediately protect your rights. Call 202.827.9750 or Toll Free 1-866-601-5518.
Protect Your Rights
Your rights can be constitutional and statutory. You must be able to respond to allegations, subpoenas and probing tactics used by procurement fraud investigators. Watson & Associates’ firm provides aggressive defense and representation for large DOD contractors and small businesses across the country. We understand the risks involved and importance of preparing for, and responding to, investigative agencies.
Is the Statute Intended for You?
The False Claims Act is in effect to address criminal activity from contractors doing business with the government. Sometimes federal agencies make allege that your actions violate the False Claims Act. However, not all allegations are true. A careful assessment of the facts may warrant those allegations as a non-violation.
Crackdown and Statistics
According to U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) statistics reported for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2005, the United States recouped more than $1.4 billion dollars in settlements and judgments pursuing allegations of fraud. For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, the government recovered a record total of more than $3.1 billion in settlements and judgments from cases involving claims of fraud. According to a November 2006 DOJ report, defense procurement fraud accounted for $609 million in settlement and judgment awards in 2006.
Learn how to avoid costly mistakes made by government contractors and knowing about those mistakes can save your company’s future.
The False Claims Act has a detailed process for making a claim under the Act. Mere complaints to the government agency are insufficient to bring claims under the Act. A complaint (lawsuit) must be filed in U.S. District Court (federal court) in camera (under seal). After an investigation by the Department of Justice within 60 days, or frequently several months after an extension is granted, the Department of Justice decides whether it will pursue the case. If the case is pursued, the amount of the reward is less than if the Department of Justice decides not to pursue the case and the plaintiff/relator continues the lawsuit himself. However, the success rate is higher in cases that the Department of Justice decides to pursue.
Develop Effective Internal Policies
To prevent allegations of False Claim Act violations, our government fraud attorneys assist companies in developing sound internal compliance policies that focus on:
- Effective checklists
- Ethics compliance
- Proper disclosure
Developing internal controls and compliance policies is the first step to avoid the severe risks associated with a False Claims Act case. The government contract defense attorneys at Watson & Associates can help you to develop such policies and procedures. In the heat of an investigation, you do not want to be caught off guard. We also defend business in suspension and debarment actions.
Get Special Counsel Assistance in Criminal Prosecutions
Oftentimes, criminal defense attorneys need help when applying government contracting regulations. Knowing the intimate fine details about how agencies procure services and products from the inside can make or break your defense. Some of our legal team have actually worked for the other side.
Watson & Associates provide advice and assistance to companies and attorneys across the country faced with False Claims Act violations, defective pricing disputes and fraud claims from the government.
Improper Product Substitution
Defense contracts frequently specify that the contractor use a particular grade, type or quality of product or parts. There are often additional requirements that the parts must be new and that those parts are made in the United States. If you engage in this activity without the permission of the government’s contracting officer, you can violate the Federal False Claims Act for improper product substitution. Contact our False Claims Act defense attorneys for immediate help or call us at 1-866-601-5518.
Improper Cost Allocation
In many forms of business, including defense contracting, the key to getting a lucrative private or government contract is often the ability to deliver the product or service at a price less than the competition. Defense contractors that provide products and services to the United States military also sell those products, in some form or another, to government and private businesses around the world. One way that some defense contractors have attempted to secure lucrative contracts from private businesses or governments outside the United States is to improperly allocate or shift costs from those contracts onto the “cost-plus” contracts they have with the United States government. As a result of this scheme, the United States ends up paying for the costs that should be paid by these private businesses or foreign governments.
Violations of the Truth-In-Negotiations Act (TINA)
Many of the weapons systems and equipment used by the United States Military are highly specialized and complex. Often times, there is only one company in the world producing that particular weapons system or equipment. The government, therefore, has no choice but to purchase this weapons system or equipment from this single-source supplier. The Truth In Negotiations Act (TINA) attempts to prevent this problem by requiring defense contractors to honestly disclose all relevant information about its costs to the government in these types of single-source, no-bid contracts. Having an experience government contract attorney can avoid some of the common mistakes made. Inflating costs and expenses can be a violation of the Federal False Claims Act.
Be Prepared for Defective Pricing Allegations
This practice arises from intentionally using old or inaccurate cost data to inflate costs. Under the Truth in Negotiations Act, contractors must submit cost or pricing data prior to negotiations, and certify that the data are accurate, complete, and current as of the close of negotiations.
Be Aware of Fraud Indicators in Defective Pricing
- Falsifications or alterations of supporting data;
- Failure to update cost or pricing data when past activity indicates price decreases;
- Failure to completely disclose data known to responsible contractor personnel;
- Distortion of overhead accounts or base line information by transferring charges or accounts that have a material impact on government contracts;
- Protracted delay in release of data to the government to preclude possible price reductions;
- Repeated denials by responsible contractor employees of the existence of historical records that are subsequently found;
- Submitting fictitious documents;
- Failing to disclose internal documents on vendor discounts
Avoid Progress Payments Fraud
Payments made to contractors based on costs incurred or on a percentage or phase of completion can result in progress payment fraud. Because the government relies heavily on the contractor’s integrity, progress payments are not always audited beforehand. Such fraud cases usually involve erroneous labor charges for work not yet performed, charges for materials not purchased, or false documentation of the phase of completion. This fraud is perpetrated to receive more money in a cost-type contract, but could also be committed to influence future contract awards (e.g., as when contracts are awarded in phases, with funds dependent upon completion of prior phases). Consider retaining a False Claims Act Defense lawyer to prevent problems in he future or address current problems.
Procurement Integrity Act
Government employees must take annual ethical training regarding this issue and are encouraged to contact the government’s human resource department before accepting a position with a contractor, in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Failure to comply with the government’s ethical guidelines can result in blacklisting and criminal charges.
The Procurement Integrity Act of 1988 (as amended), which provides the basis for these guidelines, focuses on contractor and government-official inappropriate contacts. It expressly addresses offers of employment, disclosure of information, and compensation of former officials. Remedies to punish violators include criminal prosecution, civil suits, and administrative ramifications. The Act specifies that government employees with access to contractor bid, proposal, or source-selection information may not, except as provided by law, and disclose that information prior to the awarding of a contract.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX)
SOX has dramatically affected overall awareness and management of internal controls in public corporations. Responsibility for accurate financial reporting has landed squarely on senior management, including CEOs and CFOs who now face the potential for personal criminal liability. This is when having an experienced government contracts defense and fraud defense attorney can prepare you for allegations.
Watson Offers Nationwide and Overseas Representation
If you are involved in a False Claims Act or Procurement Fraud Case and Seek effective and experienced government fraud defense attorneys, Watson & Associates, LLC can help. The law firm provides assistance to contractors in virtually every state including Denver, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Kansas and Nebraska, New York, Los Angeles California, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Denver, Colorado Springs, Utah, California, Oklahoma, Ohio, Maine, Florida, Texas, Nevada, Maryland, Louisiana, Las Vegas, Georgia, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Florida, Indiana, Washington, Mississippi, Tennessee, Tampa, Miami, Virgin Islands, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, Arizona, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Montana.
Call OurWashington DC Procurement Fraud and False Claims Act Defense Attorneys Today
For immediate help with an immediate problem and to protect your company’s future, contact the government contract law and False Claims Act defense attorneys at Watson & Associates or call 1-866-601-5518 or 202-827-9750 in Washington, DC.