The federal procurement process protects taxpayer dollars from the government becoming subjected to certain fraudulent schemes procuring goods and services. Unfortunately, the potential for procurement fraud, which involves unlawful manipulations to acquire government contracts unfairly, is still high. As a result, federal law enforcement agencies such as the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Inspector General (OIG) are aggressively pursuing ‘bad actors.”.
The problem is that not all allegations of government fraud translate into a violation of the law. Therefore, the procurement fraud attorneys at Watson & Associates, LLC represent small businesses and large DOD defense contractors throughout the United States.
We represent government contractors in complex claims associated with contractor fraud.
What are Procurement Fraud Schemes?
The procurement process is exposed to various bidding strategies that federal prosecutors may consider procurement fraud schemes. At the end of the day, any action that focuses on getting an unfair advantage, manipulation of the bidding and solicitation process, secret collaborations between the government and the contractor, illegal kickbacks, and the like can be considered a government fraud scheme.
Pre-contract Procurement Fraud
Contracting fraud can occur before the contract award or afterward. Some examples of pre-contract fraud include bid rigging, submitting defective pricing, collusion with other bidders to control the market, price fixing, and even falsely certifying the small business’s status. All of these situations are the types that our government procurement fraud attorneys can help with
Post Contract Procurement Fraud Types
After a government contract award, many more types of fraud can occur. They include submitting false invoices, conspiring to submit fraudulent change orders to the contract, and submitting false claims for defective products or substandard materials. This level of government contractor fraud can also include pass-through procurement fraud schemes where the prime contracting passes through more than the legal amount of work to the subcontractor.
Government employees can also participate in fraudulent actions by submitting to contractor bribes and accepting money and kickbacks in exchange for manipulating the procurement evaluation and or award process.
Whistleblower False Claims Act Cases
One common type of procurement fraud case is called a Whistleblower or Qui Tam case. This occurs when an employee or another contractor blows the whistle and reports evidence of government contract fraud. At Watson & Associates, LLC, we offer procurement fraud defense lawyers to represent contractors in whistleblower False Claims Act cases. We defend clients under Qui Tam investigations, indicted or facing a criminal case involving healthcare fraud or government contractor fraud.
What is Product Substitution?
Product substitution in government contracting means that the contractor is delivering nonconforming goods against the contract terms. This is quite often in federal construction cases or where contractors are substituting goods violating the Trade Agreements Act (TAA) or Buy American Act (BAA). If you are being investigated or facing a criminal charge for product substation on a federal government contract, our procurement fraud attorneys can help.
What is Cost Mischarging Fraud?
Contractor cost mischarging happens when contractors charge the government for unallowable costs under the contract or try to invoice the government for costs associated with another contract, or simply overcharge the government.
What Can You Do if the Feds Come Knocking On Your Door?
This will be an obvious situation where you should not volunteer any information without having legal counsel. If a federal agent or investigator knocks on your door and asks to question you, you should politely oblige, but only under the condition that your attorney is present. Procurement fraud investigations can turn into either civil or criminal cases. You have constitutional rights in federal criminal cases.
How Can Government Contractors Defend Procurement Fraud Cases?
Every case has different facts. However, the first thing that a reputable procurement fraud defense lawyer should look for is to dismantle the prosecution’s fraud case. In short, the first thing is to assess the case to see if there is any unintentional behavior or other facts to justify the allegation. Defending government contractor fraud is not an easy task. However, we have the experience and skills to carefully peel back the government’s evidence and look for serious errors.
Nationwide and Overseas Reach
With law offices in Washington DC and Colorado, we can help. Whether you are a manufacturer, vendor, prime contractor, subcontractor or reseller to the federal government, Watson & Associates’ procurement fraud defense lawyers can help you.