The government is the single largest buyer of goods or services in the country. Through various federal and state agencies, trillions of taxpayer dollars are spent annually. This money goes to build and maintain buildings, buy and service machines, replace and refurbish items, or pay for all kinds of services.
Each tax dollar spent is done so pursuant to a contract between the government and the vendor. During the bidding, negotiation, and performance of that government contract, the vendor is required to conduct itself in a certain manner, act honestly and certify to the government that it is doing so. But with so many tax dollars at stake, many vendors take advantage of their situation.
Common frauds in connection with government contracts include the following:
Cost mischarging – a vendor overcharges the government, charges the government for costs not allowable under the contract or falsely certifies its own or its agent’s costs.
Progress payment fraud – a vendor requests payment from the government during the course of a contract and falsely certifies that it has met certain conditions in order to be entitled to payment or incurred costs that are eligible for reimbursement.
Nonconforming materials or labor – a vendor falsify states that that all the materials used or the labor employed in the project met the contract’s requirements or the vendor’s assurances.
Such unlawful conduct by government vendors can violate federal and state qui tam statutes. Given the In addition to incurring civil liability, such conduct can also expose government vendors to criminal investigation, suspension or exclusion from further business with the government.