Florida Defense Fraud Lawyer
Defense fraud is rampant. A recent report on defense contracting fraud released by the Department of Defense (DoD) revealed that the DoD had entered into over 15 million contracts over a four-year period with contractors who wound up being indicted, fined, convicted of fraud, or settled with the government to avoid further punishment. These contracts amounted to well over $330 billion.
The government obtained over 1,000 convictions in criminal fraud cases during that period, while civil plaintiffs recovered judgments against more than 500 defendants. If you know of defense fraud and take the proper steps to serve as a defense fraud whistleblower, you can recover a significant portion of any judgment obtained in a civil action against the defense contractor. The Florida defense fraud lawyers at Guttman, Freidin & Celler is devoted to fighting all forms of government program fraud, including defense fraud. Give the firm a call if you believe you have inside knowledge of fraud being perpetrated in connection with a DoD contract. Our attorneys will let you know where you stand and guide you through the steps required to hold dishonest defense contractors accountable for their fraudulent conduct.
Defense Fraud Overview
Defense fraud most often occurs in the realm of procurement, i.e., the acquisition of goods and services by the DoD from private contractors. According to the U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General in his 2018 semiannual report to Congress, procurement fraud at the mammoth Department of Defense can take the following forms, among others:
- Cost and labor mischarging
- Defective pricing
- Price fixing
- Bid rigging
- Defective and counterfeit parts
The DoD Inspector General stressed in his report that the damage to the government from procurement fraud goes far beyond the taxpayer dollars which are lost to waste, fraud and abuse. These abuses can pose critical safety issues to the men and women in the military who put their lives at risk and count on equipment, from anti-tank missiles and machine guns to combat boots and earplugs, to be manufactured according to standards and without defects. Whistleblowers who uncover defense fraud do more than save taxpayers’ money; they quite literally save lives.
Whistleblowers Can Stop Defense Fraud
The federal False Claims Act (FCA) has its origins in the American Civil War. President Lincoln signed the bill in an attempt to stem the massive fraud being perpetrated on the government from private individuals and businesses contracting to sell supplies to the Union Army. While the FCA applies to a wide range of government programs and is often used to combat fraud in medicine, healthcare, education and other sectors, defense fraud remains a major area of concern that can be combatted with claims under the False Claims Act.
FCA claims take the form of a qui tam action, which means a private citizen is bringing a case on behalf of the government. As a qui tam plaintiff, you might be either the lead plaintiff in the case against the contractor, or you might be what is termed as a relator – the person bringing the facts of the fraud to the government’s attention. The government might choose to take over the case and sue the contractor, or they may step back and allow you to pursue the claim against the contractor on the government’s behalf. Either way, you can benefit monetarily from your efforts.
A qui tam relator can receive the following monetary award in an FCA case:
- If the government pursues the case on its own, the relator receives 15 to 25% of the amount the government recovers
- If the relator pursues the case as the lead plaintiff, the relator keeps up to 30% of the amount recovered
Unscrupulous contractors often defraud the DoD to the tune of millions of dollars, and FCA judgments against these contractors are calculated at three times the damages they caused. Whether you are receiving 15% or 30% for your work on an FCA claim, the benefits of blowing the whistle on defense fraud can be richly rewarding.
Call Guttman, Freidin & Celler to Stop Defense Fraud Today
Guttman, Freidin & Celler is dedicated to providing whistleblowers with the best possible representation in False Claims Act cases. If you know of facts that amount to fraud on the government committed by a defense contractor, call 800-654-8281 to speak to an attorney or contact us online to schedule a consultation.