SBA HUBZone certification lawyers Is your small business facing federal investigations for Historically Underutilized Business Zone – HUBZone fraud or struggling to comply with SBA regulations? Our procurement fraud defense attorneys can help.

Get help with government contract investigations and criminal charges involving HUBZone fraud, employee qualifications, and overall requirements. 

 By working with our team of SBA HUBZone certification lawyers, you can have peace of mind knowing that your business is in compliance with all regulations and that any disputes will be handled professionally and efficiently. We are dedicated to protecting your business and ensuring its success.

Types of HUBZone Cases

Watson & Associates, LLC SBA Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone certification) lawyers serve as SBA attorney advisors to small businesses across the United States that are certified but are facing potential or actual adverse action from the federal government. The law firm helps with disputes about:

  • HUBZone certification applications
  • False Certifications
  • Employee matters
  • Limitations on subcontracting and allegations of fraudulent schemes
  • Buy American Act False Claims Act disputes
  • Trade Agreements Act TAA compliance in HUBZone contracts
  • HUBZone False Claims Act defense (civil and criminal)
  • Government contract fraud conspiracy cases
  • HUBZone status bid protests and appeals

With over 30 years in the federal space, our professionals frequently handle a variety of legal concerns including civil and criminal investigations, status bid protests, SBA size protests and more. Our goal is to help our clients stay compliant and avoid some of the most costly legal mistakes seen while bidding on and performing federal government contracts.  This includes HUBZone contract fraud.

Facing HUBZOne Fraud Allegations? Get Critical Information to Defend Your Case Here

What is the SBA HUBZone Certification Program?

The SBA HUBZone Program is a federal government initiative designed to promote economic growth in historically underutilized business zones by encouraging small businesses to locate and hire in these areas. The program offers preferential treatment to SBA certified businesses in government contracting, giving them an edge over competitors.

What is a HUBZone?

A HUBZone is a geographic area that the federal government designates as economically distressed and underutilized. HUBZones are typically characterized by high unemployment rates or low median incomes. Businesses located in designated areas can apply for SBA certification to access federal contracting opportunities and contribute to the economic development of these areas.

What Geographic Areas Are in A HUBZone?

HUBZones can be found in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. The SBA’s map is updated regularly to reflect changes in economic and demographic trends. See HUBZONE MAP Here.

What are HUBZone Employee Requirements?

Small businesses must ensure that at least 35% of their employees reside in a HUBZone. This requirement is intended to promote economic development in HUBZones by encouraging businesses to hire individuals who live in the same communities where they are located. Employees must also work at the HUBZone location for at least 180 days per year. The definition of employee under SBA rules includes full-time and part-time workers, plus independent contractors (1099s) and partners in a partnership. In addition, certified businesses must ensure that their employees are paid the prevailing wage for the area where they live. 

Does the Program have an exception to the 35% employee rule?

The HUBZone Program does have some limited exceptions to the 35% employee residency rule. These exceptions allow businesses to maintain their HUBZone certification even if their percentage of employees falls below the 35% threshold due to certain circumstances. For example, if a business is located in a HUBZone that experiences a natural disaster or another significant event that results in a temporary decrease in the number of residents available for employment, the business may be eligible for an exception.

Additionally, if a business experiences a decrease in the number of residents available for employment due to circumstances beyond its control, such as a change in the HUBZone boundary, the business may also be eligible for an exception. However, these exceptions are granted on a case-by-case basis, and businesses must apply to the SBA for a waiver. These are all areas that our HUBZone certificatiion small business lawyers can help you with.

What are HUBZone Certification Requirements for a Principle Place of Business?

A principal place of business is the location where a business performs its most important functions, such as management, decision-making, and administrative tasks. To qualify as a principal place of business under the HUBZone certificatiion program, a location must meet specific criteria, including being the location where the greatest number of employees perform their work, being the location where the business’s management team is located, and being the location where the most important business decisions are made. 

13 CFR 126.805 – What is the HUBZone Status Protest Appeal Process?

13 CFR 126.805 What is the legal process for appealing HUBZone status protest determinations? If you are planning to file an appeal to the SBA’s HUBZone determination, you -the protested concern, the protester, or the contracting officer may file an appeal of a HUBZone status protest determination with SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) in accordance with 13 CFR part 134. Our HUBZOne protest appeal lawyers can help.

What are Common Issues that Companies are Investigated For?

HUBZone companies are subject to investigation by the SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) or DOJ to ensure compliance with program requirements. Common issues that companies are investigated for include misrepresenting their HUBZone status, failing to maintain the required percentage of  employees, and engaging in fraudulent activities to obtain government contracts. Companies found to be in violation of program requirements can face significant penalties, including fines, debarment from government contracting, and even criminal prosecution. Watson & Associates, LLC  offers top criminal defense lawyers that can help CEOs and firms to fight back against allegations of government contract fraud and false claims. 

 SBA HUBZone Certification Consultants and Attorney Services

 Watson & Associates’ government contract lawyers and SBA HUBZone certification consultants help small businesses nationwide to become certified and provide post-certification consulting and legal support that includes sole source matters, teaming agreements and subcontracting matters, and litigation help.  As SBA attorney advisors, the law firm also provides legal advice and guidance regarding small business contract novations,  litigation and appeals to (ASBCA and CBCA)(COFC and Federal Circuit), Certificate of Competency and contractor responsibility matters.

HUBZone Status Bid Protests

Although chances are that you are compliance with HUBZone regulations, your competition, or a government official, may still choose to challenge your status and the ultimate contract award.  Filing or defending a bid protest can be frustrating and complex, depending on the facts. Having experienced HUBZone attorneys who understand the program rules and regulations can make a big difference. This is especially true, when intervenors face both a size protest and HUBZone status protests at the same time. If you are filing a HUBZone status protest, then having SBA lawyers who understand the rules and make the right arguments are essential to prevailing in litigation. 

Government Contract HUBZone Fraud Defense Lawyers

Hubzone fraud defense lawyerPractice Area Lead Counsel Theodore Watson. Unfortunately, the SBA and other government law enforcement agencies are actively seeking out small businesses that have allegedly committed fraud against the federal government. When individuals and companies are subject to government investigations fraud and false claims violations, our government contract fraud and HUBzone fraud defense lawyers are here to help.

We have represented small businesses for alleged violations of SBA small business programs.  We understand the applicable regulations and flaws during federal investigations.

Can You Be Charged Under the False Claims Act for Fraud? Yes. If you are found to have committed civil or criminal HUBZone fraud, each contract or benefit received and trigger charges under the False Claims Act. If government attorneys find that you obtained your HUBZone status or government contract using a fraudulent certification, the result would be a finding that the firm fraudulently induces the government into awarding them the contract. During a criminal case, the prosecution will always try to elicit that the contracting officer would not have awarded the contract if he or she knew about the fraud at the time they awarded the contract.

Contact Our SBA HUBZone Certification Consultants

If you are a HUBZone certified small business and have been accused of government procurement fraud under a specific set aside contract, need help learning how to become certified, or need help meeting employee requirements, HUBZone fraud or need help getting more access to federal procurement opportunities, call Watson & Associates, LLC SBA HUBZone certification lawyers to schedule a free consultation. Call our SBA compliance lawyers toll-free at 1-866-601-5518.