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Sep 28, 2022 by |

Los Angeles Whistleblower Attorney: Supplier To Pay $625,000 for Alleged False Claims Related to Buy American Act Violations

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Former Employee Initiates False Claims Act Action

Manufacturer Allegedly Misrepresented Origin Of Products

Employee To Receive $124,500 Reward

Government contracts for the purchase of goods and services often include strict rules regarding product specifications which contractors are obligated to meet in order to qualify for payment.   One such regulation is the Buy American Act (BAA), 41 U.S.C. § 83 et seq., adopted in 1933 to protect U.S. manufacturing by creating a preference for domestic products when the federal government purchases supplies. Knowing failure to fulfill contractual obligations or falsely representing compliance with government regulations (such as domestic origin of goods under the BAA) may violate the False Claims Act.  See False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq.  Individuals with knowledge of this kind of fraud, often employees or former employees of the offending supplier, may bring an action (called a “qui tam” case) on behalf of the government for the fraud perpetrated against the government. Rewards for the individuals (referred to as “relators”) bringing the actions can equal 15-30% of the amount recovered.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(d).  If you have credible information for a false claims whistleblower case on behalf of the federal government in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669 and we can help. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Product Manufacturer Settles False Claims Allegations

In one recently settled case,[1] a government supplier agreed to pay $625,000 to resolve allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act by failing to comply with the requirements of the Buy American Act (BAA) when selling scientific instruments to federal agencies and national laboratories. The United States alleged that defendant knowingly violated the BAA by falsely certifying that goods sold to the government pursuant to contracts containing domestic-preference requirements were of domestic origin, when these good were actually manufactured in China.

“Those who contract with the government must comply with all applicable terms,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This settlement demonstrates the department’s commitment to protect American businesses by enforcing domestic preference requirements.”

“When companies commit to manufacture their goods in the United States, then shirk that commitment, they violate the law and undermine American manufacturing jobs, too,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan for the District of Colorado. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado is committed to enforcing the Buy American Act and pursuing companies that violate it.”

Whistleblower Retaliation

In the reported case, a former employee of the allegedly defrauding supplier blew the whistle on the fraud and will receive a $124,500 reward.  Current employees of offending companies may have evidence of fraud and the FCA prohibits retaliation against whistleblowing employees, but employers continue to retaliate against whistleblowers notwithstanding the prohibition.  Employees may, however, fight back if the employer retaliates against them. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h).  Wrongfully discharged employees may be entitled to double back pay (with interest), reinstatement, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and reimbursement for certain costs in connection with the litigation. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h)(2).  We can represent you in any action for retaliation as well as represent you in your underlying whistleblower application. 

Contact Us

Ingrid M. Evans can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>.  Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).  In addition to whistleblower cases under the FCA, Ingrid handles bank fraud whistleblower cases under FIRREA/FIAFEA, commodity trading and securities fraud under the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program and the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, and tax fraud under the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program. 

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way. The qui tam case is captioned United States ex rel. Swanton v. Zou, et al., Case No. 20-CV-01742 (D. Colo.). 

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