false claims act white collar fraud defense lawyerWatson & Associates LLC Law Firm Offers Experience False Claims Act lawyers that vigorously represent small businesses and large government contractors nationwide and overseas who are facing criminal and civil charges of procurement fraud involving government contracts. Our False Claims Act whistleblower lawyers also represent clients involved in federal investigations in the United States. We understand the procurement regulations and are in a better position to represent defendants involved in criminal cases and facing jail time.

  • Not all government contractor criminal defense attorneys understand the complex federal procurement rules or government contracting programs that prosecutors are coming after you for.
  • Watson & Associates’ contract defense lawyers frequently help government contractors to defend against false claims allegations and respond to FCA investigations.
  • We understand that not all allegations of fraud by government law enforcement are valid claims. We clients to avoid costly legal mistakes when it comes to government contracting. 

As Federal False Claims Act lawyers, we have experience assessing allegations with the facts, and developing legal strategies to aggressively defend against government investigations for procurement fraud and regulatory noncompliance. When the Department of Justice (DOJ) or SBA OIG comes after you with allegations of fraud and criminal activity, we put together a team that understands both the criminal and government contracting aspects of the case. See Information on Grand Jury Indictments

Overview of the Federal False Claims Act

Important law for contractors: The federal criminal and civil False Claims Act (FCA) is a recent priority for federal law enforcement agencies.   The statute provides that violators who knowingly submit a false claim to the government can be liable for treble damages plus a penalty that is linked to inflation.  In addition to allowing the United States to pursue perpetrators of fraud on its own, the FCA allows private citizens to file suits on behalf of the government (called “qui tam suits) against those who have defrauded the government.  Private citizens who successfully bring qui tam actions may receive a portion of the government’s recovery.  Many Fraud Section investigations and lawsuits arise from such qui tam actions. See information about FCA retaliation.  It has been proven that the later defendants wait to retain legal counsel, the more difficult it is to overcome the allegations by federal prosecutors.

Qui Tam Federal False Claims Attorney Services 

Our contractor False Claims Act whistleblower lawyers represent clients nationwide and overseas in a variety of situations that can lead to penalties under the FCA  They include:

  • Buy American Act violations
  • Bid rigging
  • Procurement Integrity Act (PIA)
  • Small business fraud allegations
  • SBA 8(a) and HUBZone Fraud
  • SDVOSB Fraud
  • Substandard parts 
  • False invoices
  • Major fraud against the government
  • Conspiracy to defraud the federal government
  • Pass-through contracting violations
  • Improper joint venture and teaming arrangements

False Claims Act Investigation Attorneys

Federal Attorneys increasingly conduct government investigations and ultimately seek to bring either civil or criminal charges. Whistleblowers (Relators) and their FCA whistleblower lawyers also use the Qui Tam litigation that results in millions of dollars in damages. In addition to filing Qui Tam lawsuits for relators, Watson &. Associates’ False Claims Act investigation attorneys help federal government contractors defend FCA civil and criminal cases. We build tailored defense teams for your specific case and work to eliminate, reduce or eliminate the impact of the government’s investigation or criminal charges brought against you.

Whistleblower Defense Attorneys – Tools to Defend Against False Claims Act Violations

federal qui tam and false claims defense attorneyPractice Area Lead Attorney Theodore P Watson. When companies are charged or investigated for False Claims Act violations, that charge stems from an action or inaction by the individual or contractor. For example, there could be an underlying Buy American Act noncompliance issue. This can then lead to the ultimate false claim sought after by the government’s attorney. In order to defend a false claims case, it would require knowledge and experience in a variety of situations. This is especially true in government procurement fraud involving small business regulatory violations.  As an important law to contractors, the key to defending an FCA case includes:

  • Get to the underlying issue and assess the facts under current procurement law: This is especially true for Buy American Act defense and small business program disputes. For example, small businesses are charged with pass-through contracts and defrauding the government due to illegal size and business control activity. If a contractor can show that it is in fact in compliance with SBA regulations, then it would be more difficult to bring False Claims cases.
  • Sift through all facts before developing a legal defense: Many companies make the mistake of asserting a legal defense but not knowing all the facts. Federal prosecutors spend a long time investigating FCA cases. Sometimes, they have internal witnesses who are employees. Having facts against you can create a difficult situation. Knowing the details can make a big difference when defending FCA cases.
  • Ability to assess potential liability:  In sum, the False Claims Act imposes liability on any person who submits a claim to the federal government that he or she knows (or should know) is false. The ability to assess potential liability in an FCA case is essential. Watson & Associates False Claims Act lawyers and whistleblower Defense attorneys look at the details and develop the strongest legal defense early in the case.

What is the False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act (“FCA”) provides, in pertinent part, that:
(a) Any person who (1) knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, to an officer or employee of the United States Government or a member of the Armed Forces of the United States a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval; (2) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the Government; (3) conspires to defraud the Government by getting a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the Government;. . . or (7) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement to conceal, avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the Government, is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not
less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000, plus 3 times the amount of damages which the Government sustains because of the act of that person . . . .

Penalty for False Claims Act Violation

The penalty for False Claims violations can be either civil or criminal possible liability to the federal government for a civil penalty of no less than $5,500 and no more than $11,000 per occurrence. In addition, contractors or individuals can be exposed to criminal penalties of three times the amount of damages that the government has sustained resulting from fraud. This is commonly called  “treble damages.” If the defendant who commits the fraud reports it to the government themselves or cooperates substantively in the investigation, the amount could be reduced to double instead of treble damages.

Whistleblower False Claims Act Lawyers – Handling Government Allegations of Fraud 

Government must be interested in the case:  Whether the case is initiated by a Qui Tam Action or an internal inquiry from the contracting officer, the government will take control of the matter and start its internal investigation. If a Whistleblower is bringing a False Claims Act Qui Tam action on behalf of the government, he or she (Relator’s counsel) is required to retain False Claims Act lawyers since the government does not want a layperson representing it in court. In addition to its substantive provisions, the False Claims Act allows for private parties to bring a lawsuit  on behalf of the United States. 31 U.S.C. 3730 (b).  The ‘private party’ or Plaintiff is known as the “qui tam relator,” may share in a percentage of the proceeds from an FCA action or settlement. The FCA provides, with some exceptions, that a qui tam relator, if the Government intervenes in the case, shall receive at least 15 percent but not more than 25 percent of the proceeds of the FCA action depending upon the extent to which the relator substantially contributed to the prosecution of the action.

False Claims Act Qui Tam lawsuits are filed under seal. As result, the contractor or individual would not know about the lawsuit. Only the court and the government know of its existence. This is where clients are at a disadvantage when defending their rights. The stealthy involvement of the government allows it to investigate under the radar. It can use tools such as informants, wiretaps, and various tools allowed by law.

What happens if the Government takes over an FCA Qui Tam case? : Government contractor defendants are at a great disadvantage in the initial false claims and Qui Tam litigation or investigation. Once the government interviews the Relator and decides to intervene in the case Defendant has to now develop a sound legal defense. Once the government takes over the case, it is generally convinced that it would win the case if it had to litigate in court. This makes it difficult to negotiate.

Aggressive Advocates and Government Contractor Criminal Defense Lawyers

Our government contractor defense team will initially gather what facts and details are involved, and consult with top management and key personnel. Our goal is to develop the best defense as early as possible. Sometimes, we must conduct an internal investigation to find out where any potential problems exist. Our false claims fraud defense lawyers. include former government contracting personnel that understands the applicable Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), SBA statutes or federal laws such as the Buy American Act, and other regulations that are the underlying violations that lead to false claims. Our government contractor False Claims Act whistleblower lawyers often will have to deal directly with federal attorneys in an effort to get the case dismissed or settle the matter. When the government initiates a criminal case, the Watson law firm will develop a defense plan that addresses each case.

Call Watson’s Federal False Claims Act Defense Attorneys

Get a Free Initial Consultation:  If you are a federal contractor or individual accused of a false or fraudulent claim or involved in a government investigation or FCA matter, call Watson &. Associates’ False Claims Act Whistleblower defense lawyers for legal advice.  Call Toll-Free 1.866.601.5518.