Government Contract Fraud
Government contract fraud covers a number of activities ranging from taking kickbacks and price fixing to bid rigging and falsifying invoices. Unfortunately, even contractors who are not involved in fraudulent activity are often accused of these types of offenses, which can have devastating repercussions for a person’s business or financial prospects. Being represented by an attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of this type of case, so if you have been questioned for your involvement in an alleged government contract fraud scheme, you should consider speaking with an experienced white collar crime lawyer who is well-versed in federal law and who may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed.
Types of Contract Fraud
Although anyone who contracts with the government can be accused of fraud, the most commonly charged entities include:
- Health care providers;
- Defense contractors; and
- Construction companies.
These individuals and businesses can be accused of a number of unlawful types of behaviors, although the most common include:
- Over billing or double billing;
- Charging for services or goods that were not provided or were unrelated to the business; and
- Providing substandard goods or services.
Defendants who are accused of fraud in connection with a government contract are also often charged with other crimes, including mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, and accounting fraud. However, before a person can be convicted of any type of fraud, the prosecution must be able to prove that he or she knowingly submitted a false claim to the government. The element of intent is thus an extremely important part of any fraud charge, so providing evidence of a lack of intent to commit fraud is critical for defendants
Failure to Disclose Material Violations
In 2016, the Supreme Court also clarified in a unanimous opinion that companies that do business with the government can be sued for fraud if they fail to disclose regulatory or legal violations. However, the Court also stated that the violation must be significant to support a conviction for government contract fraud. Violations that have been found to be material enough to warrant federal charges include billing for services provided by non-licensed employees and making misrepresentations, which includes stating half-truths and omitting qualifying information.
This narrowing of the definition of what qualifies as a substantial violation helps protect government contractors from trivial claims that might otherwise result in expensive false claims awards. Unfortunately, many contractors are still unfairly accused of committing fraud at an alarming rate, making it especially important for those who have been charged with this offense to speak with an experienced white collar crime attorney who can help ensure that trivial or minor violations are dismissed.
Call Today for Help with Your White Collar Crime Charges
If you are being investigated for committing fraud against the government, you need the advice of an experienced attorney to avoid jail time and hefty fines. Please call 305-670-9919 today to speak with dedicated white collar crime attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. about your own legal options.