Tampa Defense Contract Fraud Lawyer
The Defense Procurement Fraud Unit was established in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division’s Fraud Section in 1982 by the U.S. Attorney General and Secretary of Defense. The stated purpose of this unit was to concentrate and coordinate the DOJ’s law enforcement resources toward prosecuting significant procurement fraud cases under the Department of Defense’s multi-billion-dollar procurement of equipment and services. Today, this unit is known as the Federal Procurement Fraud Unit and is responsible for fraud cases affecting both civilian and defense agency procurements. Some of the main types of cases brought by the unit involve product substitution, false testing, cost mischarging, defective pricing, and kickback cases. In addition to conducting major procurement investigations, the unit provides expertise and guidance on procurement fraud issues to investigative agencies and United States Attorneys’ Offices that request their assistance.
Individuals who experience the full force of coordinated units like this one bearing down on them might understandably feel that there is no hope for them and no choice but to cooperate, plead guilty, and hope for the best. The Tampa defense contract fraud lawyers at Trombley & Hanes, P.A. have significant experience as former prosecutors and understand how fraud cases play out from the perspectives of both prosecutors and the defense. The firm’s lawyers provide strong, insightful and vigorous defense against defense contracting fraud charges and work to defend their clients’ rights and achieve the best outcome, even against enormous odds. Contact Trombley & Hanes, P.A. for help with defense contracting fraud charges in Tampa, Florida or nationwide.
Examples of Defense Contracting Fraud Offenses
Defense contracting fraud offenses can be pre-award or post-award. Pre-award fraud can include the following types of activities:
The contracting officer convinces the agency it needs products or services that are unnecessary or excessive.
Bid specs are drafted in a way that gives a particular contractor an unfair advantage over others.
Leaking Bid Information
The Contract Officer leaks inside information or information about the competition’s bid proposals.
Breaking up a large project into smaller projects so they don’t trigger mandatory reporting requirements.
Examples of post-award defense contracting fraud could include:
A contractor provides non-compliant, substandard products and certifies that they satisfy contract specifications.
A contractor knowingly fails to build the product according to required specifications, fails to conduct testing as required in the contract, or falsifies test results.
A contractor charges the government for costs that “are not allowable, reasonable, or allocated directly or indirectly to the contract.”
Defective pricing charges can be based on a number of different actions, such as when incurred costs run significantly less than projected, operations outlined in the proposal are not actually performed, or direct cost items in the proposal are priced higher than it seems they should be.
Change Order Schemes
Repeated change orders expanding the scope of the contract to accommodate work that isn’t performed or simply to increase profits for the contractor.
Kickbacks could be pre-award or post-award. According to the Anti-Kickback Act of 1986, the prosecution must establish all of the following to secure a conviction:
- Prohibited conduct – Any thing of value was offered, including attempted offers as well as completed ones
- Purpose of kickback – Thing of value was offered for improperly obtaining favorable treatment or rewarding favorable treatment in any aspect of government contracting
- Covered class of kickback recipients – Recipients include prime contractors and their employers as well as subcontractors and their employees
- Type of contract – The Anti-Kickback Statute includes payments under any government contract, whether negotiated or not
- Knowledge and willfulness – The defendant must have knowingly and willfully engaged in prohibited conduct. This element can be the hardest for the government to prove and is often a ripe area for the defense to explore in preparing its case.
The Federal Procurement Fraud Unit cracks down on all the above activities and more, including conflicts of interest, bid rigging, collusive bidding, split purchase orders, bribery and public corruption, labor mischarging, duplicate payments, false invoicing for work that never occurred, phony time entries, ghost employees, and more.
Help With Defense Contracting Fraud Defense in Tampa and Beyond
Government defense contracts can be lucrative and sustain businesses for years, but allegations of fraud can ruin a business and subject its owners to enormous fines and years of imprisonment. For help with allegations of defense contracting fraud in Tampa, Florida or nationwide, contact Trombley & Hanes, P.A. at 813-229-7918 to schedule a consultation.