Federal and state budgets contain billions of dollars for government programs, contracts, and grants. Private parties can commit fraud both in obtaining government contracts or grants and in performing work under those contracts or grants. The federal and state False Claims Acts and Anti-Kickback Statutes are the primary tools we use to bring qui tam cases alleging government program fraud.
It is illegal to offer or pay money or things of value to any government official in return for an official act, such as the selection of a private contractor, the approval of a change order, or the authorization of a contract payment. It is also against the law for private companies to engage in bid rigging or to collude with one another to avoid open competition and drive up the cost of public work. The False Claims Act can be used to combat corrupt and anti-competitive activities, to recover taxpayer money, and to generate awards for whistleblowers.
Military expenditures account for over half of the United States’ discretionary spending budget — in excess of a half a trillion dollars annually. The Department of Defense contracts with private companies to supply everything from basic supplies for military bases to sophisticated fighter jets and naval vessels. Fraud by defense contractors is an important concern to the government and has yielded significant recoveries under the False Claims Act for whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing.
Federal and state governments spend billions of dollars on public works projects. Such projects include construction on highways, bridges, airports, and other parts of the nation’s infrastructure. Private contractors that cheat the government on such projects can be liable under the False Claims Act.
The U.S. awards more than $100 billion in grants each year to fund research and development activities at universities, non-profit organizations, and private entities. While most federal grants are properly administered, on occasion, grant applications are falsified, research results are fabricated, and grant funds are misspent or embezzled. Grant and research fraud cases have yielded significant recoveries under the False Claims Act and awards for whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing.
As one of the world’s largest consumers, the U.S. government can be victimized by fraud worldwide at the hands of the companies from which it procures goods and services. State governments are also vulnerable to procurement fraud. Private contractors that take taxpayer dollars while cheating on government contracts can be liable under the False Claims Act.