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Mar 29, 2021 by |

Orange County Whistleblower Attorney: IT Contractor Agrees To $6 Million Settlement of False Claims Act Case

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Allegations of Staffing With Unqualified Personnel

Billing At Higher Rates Alleged As Fraud

Qui Tam Cases For Overbilling

Contracts with the federal government and the State of California are almost always subject to very specific requirements and regulations.   When a contractor knowingly violates those specifications or guidelines and nevertheless charges the government at a full rate, that conduct may constitute a false claim against the government actionable under both federal or State law depending on which level of government (or both) is being defrauded.  See federal False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq. and California False Claims Act (CFCA), Cal. Gov’t Code § 12650 et seq.  Cases under the FCA  and CFCA may be brought by the government, but are most often brought by individuals referred to as whistleblowers or “relators.”. The cases (known as qui tam cases) are initiated by filing a complaint on behalf of the government, under seal, and providing a copy of the complaint and a statement regarding their evidence to the government for evaluation.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(federal); Cal. Gov’t Code § 12652(c)(1)(California).  If you have credible information for a false claims whistleblower case on behalf of the federal government or State of California in Orange County or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669 and we can help.

Violating Contract Specifications

In one recently settled case[1] an IT provider agreed to pay $6 million to settle FCA allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly overbilling the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for work performed by employees who lacked required job qualifications.  The settlement resolves allegations that, from October 2007 to April 2014, the IT provider knowingly submitted claims for payment to DHS for work performed by employees who lacked required job qualifications. This conduct allegedly violated the terms of the provider’s contract with DHS by using under-qualified personnel who were billed to DHS at higher rates reserved for more qualified employees.  “Contractors that knowingly overcharge the government will be held accountable,” said Acting Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The department will ensure that that those who do business with the government, and seek taxpayer funds, do so fairly and in accordance with their contractual commitments.” “Defense contractors are required to bill for costs actually incurred, and to be truthful in the claims they submit to federal agencies,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner for the District of Maryland. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners are committed to protecting taxpayer dollars and ensuring integrity and compliance with federal agency standards.”

Blowing The Whistle On Government Fraud

If an employee, former employee, or other individual with information of this kind fraud, files a qui tam case under the FCA or CFCA he or she may be eligible for a reward if the federal government or State of California ultimately recovers from the wrongdoer.  31 U.S.C. §3730(d)(rewards under the federal FCA); Cal. Gov’t Code § 12652(g)(rewards under the California False Claims Act). If the relator/plaintiff  is a current employee, the employee/relator is protected from employer retaliation for bringing a qui tam case. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h)(federal anti-retaliation protection); Cal. Gov’t Code § 12653(California anti-retaliation protection).  If you are fired because you brought any fraud to light, you can fight back under the law.  You may be entitled to sue your employer and seek 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)(federal); Cal. Gov’t Code § 12653(b)(State remedies). Our Orange County whistleblower attorneys can represent you in any action for retaliation as well as represent you in your underlying whistleblower application.  We know how to investigate and litigate retaliation cases with the aim of obtaining our clients all relief available under all governing laws.

Contact Us

Ingrid M. Evans and our other Orange County whistleblower attorneys can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>.  In addition to whistleblower cases under the FCA and CFCA, Ingrid and our other whistleblower attorneys handle 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 case in any way.

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