What is Federal Government Procurement Fraud?
There are many situations where federal prosecutors will try to pursue criminal charges against you or your company for federal government procurement fraud. Many criminal fraud actions by the federal claw enforce involve contractors conducting unlawful manipulation of the government procurement process.
The alleged illegal actions would ultimately lead to acquiring government contracts or something of value from the government, goods or services or to obtain an unfair advantage during the procurement process.
Federal law enforcement agencies seek out and prosecute various procurement fraud schemes that include false claims in the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program (8a Certification); Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Program Fraud; SBA Small Business Program Fraud; Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Fraud, limitations on subcontracting pass-through contracts and more. Having an experienced procurement fraud and government fraud lawyers that understand the federal procurement process is critical to achieving a fair outcome defendants.
Outside counsel help for existing criminal defense attorneys
At Watson & Associates, LLC, we often provide outside counsel to criminal defense attorneys that need help understanding the procurement process. When contractors want federal procurement fraud attorneys that put a team of professionals together to handle government contract fraud cases that can have dangerous outcomes, our law firm will form a team that can push back against the federal prosecutors. Our goal is to get the possible result for our clients.
Help with common government procurement fraud schemes cases
As government contract fraud attorneys, we often see that federal law enforcement puts together procurement fraud schemes and then fits the players together as a conspiracy, accomplices or some other result.
Procurement fraud schemes are usually present when bidders in the procurement market collude to defeat competition, control or inflate prices. Collusion between bidders is usually present; government employees arrange for kickbacks if the contract is awarded; pass-through contracts are arranged that violate the limitations on subcontracting rules or some other scheme to defraud the government.
Watson & Associates government procurement fraud lawyers defend against, or provide outside counsel services in the following types of cases:
- Conflicts of Interest
- Bid rigging
- Collusive bidding between bidders
- Kickback schemes
- Falsifying qualifications or contractor status
- Labor mischarging
- Defective or counterfeit products
- Improper product substitution
- False claims and invoices
- Change order schemes
- False statements and claims
- SBA program fraud
- Limitations on subcontracting and pass-through contracts
- SBA 8(a), SDVOSB and HUBZone government contracts
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Legal help for small business and large business federal contractors
Cases involving federal contract fraud involves small businesses, large businesses, or both. When detecting contract fraud, federal prosecutors are not always up to speed on the substantive legal requirements of the SBA small business programs, the FAR and various procurement laws.
Large businesses find themselves involved with small businesses where the contractor finds themselves in precarious position because their criminal defense lawyers are not proficient with the government procurement process or regulations.
Watson & Associates is comprised of attorneys that deal with various procurement disputes on a daily basis. With over four decades of experience between our legal counsel, we understand deficiencies in the government’s cases and can sometimes develop alternative strategies that bring the client a more favorable result.
Representation problems encountered by federal contractors
When either the Inspector General (IG), Department of Justice (DOJ) or some other federal law enforcement agency decides to pursue criminal charges against small business or other defense contractors, most will immediately hire a local criminal defense attorney. Later, the reality is that the criminal defense attorney realizes that there is more to the case than the allegations of conspiracy and criminal fraud.
Government contract law includes very complex regulations including the Federal Acquisition Regulations and SBA regulations that govern the SBA 8(a) program, HUBZone and SDVOSB small business regulations,
In either situation, Watson’s government fraud lawyers can help.
- We can serve and outside counsel to existing criminal defense attorneys
- The law firm can also form a legal defense team of professionals that can handle each aspect of the case.
Detecting contractor fraud
Small businesses and defense contractors should be aware of the red flags that indicate that the agency, IG or DOJ is pursuing, investigating or detecting contractor fraud. Indicators include:
- Requesting audits
- Contracting officer questioning materials, invoices or challenging compliance with the FAR or contract clauses
- Requests to speak with investigators
Outside Counsel – Procurement Fraud and False Claims Act
Procurement fraud often includes facts where the scheme is furthered by submitting a claim, false statement or invoice to the government with the expectation of getting paid, acquiring a contract or some other benefit from the government.
As a result, the federal prosecutors seek to bring False Claims Act violation charges in addition to other claims of conspiracy, kickbacks and other criminal charges. Watson & Associates’ procurement fraud lawyers’ can provide legal advice and outside counsel to develop a strong defense early in the case.
Government Contract Fraud – Violation of Limitations on Subcontracting Rules
In these types of procurement fraud cases, the government alleges that the prime contractor does not perform the statutory amount under the contract. Instead, it passes through a huge (an illegal) amount of the contract to a subcontractor (co-defendant) in violation of the limitations on subcontracting laws. Criminal charges for conspiracy and wire fraud criminal charges will also accompany the government’s allegations.
Your government contract will typically require certain brands, sizes or detailed types of goods. When a contractor decides to alter or substitute the contracted for goods with other unapproved types of goods, the law enforcement agencies will move foraward with government procurement fraud criminal charges for defective goods. The idea is that by providing unlawful and defective goods, then you are intending to defraud the federal government and gain a benefit for additional profits.
Government contract fraud – false statement and certifications
Small businesses and virtually all government contractors have to certify the truthfulness of the information provided to the government. Certification is required when submitting for SBA certifications, invoice preparation and normal bid submission. Companies find themselves defending criminal charges for false statements and certifications. At Watson our government contract fraud lawyers can assess the facts and help clients to forcefully address theses types of charges.
Contract Fraud Violations of the Truth In Negotiations Act
The Truth In Negotiations Act requires that federal government contractors disclose all relevant cost information when bidding or negotiating with the government. Any misrepresentations for false statements could amount to a violation of the Truth In Negotiations Act, as well as the False Claims Act if the misrepresentations resulted in inflated prices. At Watson, our procurement fraud defense attorneys provide outside counsel and legal advice in criminal cases against federal cotnractors.
Procurement Fraud – False Claims Act
When federal law enforcement pursues criminal action against you for procurement fraud and violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute, there is also a violation of the Federal False Claims Act. In SBA fraud cases involving small business certification which result in the award of government contracts, the government will then tack on criminal charges because the invoices submitted for payment would (allegedly) fraudulent and therefore subject to monetary penalties and treble damages under the False Claims Act.
US and overseas defense contractor fraud attorneys
At Watson & Associates, our government contract law attorneys provide outside counsel and procurement fraud defense to federal contractors within the United States and government contractors overseas. Countries that we represent companies with contract fraud include Dubai, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Asia (Korea, Japan etc.)
When should I call my government contract fraud defense lawyer?
If you facing suspension and debarment, criminal charges for procurement fraud or other government contract fraud allegations or investigation, you may be lacking on a viable legal defense because you do not have a legal team that is experienced in government procurement laws. You may notice the government cases seems to be getting stronger although you feel that your company has done nothing wrong. If you have these facts currently in your case, call our government contract fraud lawyers right away.
- The government’s criminal charges usually are deficient in the substantive requirements for the underlying charges.
- If you are a small business facing criminal charges for procurement fraud due to SBA 8(a), HUBZone or SDVOSB violations, get help right away.
- Criminal defense attorneys can bring in outside counsel to develop a stronger defense case.
- Having a strong defense team with professionals to handle all aspects of government procurement laws provides a stronger legal foundation and defense for your case.
Tips to help you get the most from a your confidential consultation with our attorneys
- Before your call for a free initial consultation, write down the specific points of your case ( the who’s when’s and where’s)
- Make sure that decision-maker is present and have a list of questions you want answered
- Be able to discuss the general aspects of the federal contract(s) in question
- Be able to make decision as to the next steps
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT WHITE COLLAR CRIMES AND GOVERNMENT CONTRACT FRAUD
Call Watson & Associates government contract and procurement law attorneys for outside counsel services or government contract fraud defense representation.
Call 1.866.601.5518 Toll Free