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Apr 20, 2022 by |

San Francisco Whistleblower Attorney: Freight Carriers Agree To Pay $6.85 Million To Resolve False Claims Allegations

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Former Employee Blows Whistle On False Billing

Allegations Of Overbilling And False Statements

Realtor Will Receive $1.3 Million Reward

The False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq. (FCA) allows individuals with knowledge of fraud against the government to bring actions (known as “qui tams”) to recover government funds paid out as a result of fraudulent claims.  31 U.S.C. §3730(b).  If the government recovers, these individuals, known as “relators” are eligible for rewards. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d).  Relators of fraudulent conduct are often employees of the business engaging in the fraud.  Any business billing the government for products or services is subject to government regulation affecting that business and its billing practices for government work, and is also subject to the fines and penalties of the FCA.  If you have credible information of government fraud in San Francisco 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).

Trucking Company Settles FCA Allegations For $6.85 Million

In a recent settlement announced by the U.S. Department of Justice,[1] three national trucking companies have agreed to pay approximately $6.85 million to resolve allegations under the FCA that they knowingly presented false claims to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) by systematically overcharging for freight carrier services and making false statements to hide their misconduct.  The defendants, transporters of industrial, commercial and retail goods, contracted with DOD to ship military freight across the country from September 2005 to October 2013. Under their contracts, defendants were paid based in part upon a shipment’s weight.  The United States alleged that the YRC defendants fraudulently billed the United States for delivery charges based on higher weights when, after reweighing the shipments, they knew that the actual weights were lower. For more than seven years, defendants allegedly reweighed many shipments before final delivery, and when the reweighs showed that a shipment weight was more than the original weight, defendants charged DOD for these higher weights. But when the reweighs showed that a shipment weight was less than the original weight, defendants allegedly concealed from DOD the lower weights and instead charged DOD for the original, inflated weights. To further hide the scheme, defendants allegedly made false statements assuring DOD that they would comply with the rules requiring them to correct discrepancies uncovered during any reweigh process.  A former employee of one of the carriers blew the whistle on these fraudulent practices and will receive a reward of $1.3 million for his efforts.

Fundamentals Of A Qui Tam Case

Qui tam cases begin with filing a complaint in the federal district court where the allegedly fraudulent conduct occurred.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(b).  The complaint is filed under seal.  The government has sixty days to review the allegations and decide whether to intervene.  This review period can be extended.  If the government decides to intervene, the government essentially takes over the litigation.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(c).  If the government decides not to intervene, the relator has the right to continue the litigation on his or her own.  If the relator continues the litigation alone, he or she receive a larger percentage of the amount the government eventually recovers.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(d).  The relator may also pursue claims for wrongful retaliation against the defendant if the relator was fired or demoted as a result of blowing the whistle.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(h).

Contact Us

If you have credible information of government fraud call Ingrid M. Evans at (415) 441-8669, or toll-free at 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267) or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>.  In addition to FCA and CFCA whistleblower cases, Ingrid and Evans Law Firm, Inc. also 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. The qui tam case is captioned U.S. ex rel. Hannum v. YRC Freight, Inc., Roadway Express, Inc., and Yellow Transportation, Inc., Civil Action No. 08-0811 (W.D.N.Y.).

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