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Procurement Fraud: When the Government Doesn’t Get What it Bargained For

The federal government buys or “procures” billions of dollars’ worth of products and services each year – everything from oranges to office supplies, trucks to telephones, bridges to building equipment, automotive repair to aircraft carriers, and computer support to cleaning supplies. As one of the largest buyers of goods and services in the world, the federal government is susceptible to fraud by companies looking to cheat taxpayers. This is called procurement fraud.

In order to do businesses with the federal government, companies submit bids on various contracts to provide a specific good or service to a government agency – such as a contract to provide desks to the Department of Education, or a contract to build an air strip for the Department of Defense.

Every contract is specific as to exactly what product or service is to be provided, and what types of things are billable to the government. When a company uses improper means to win a contract or doesn’t perform according to the contract terms, it may be committing procurement fraud. Some common examples of procurement fraud are:

  • Billing for items or services that were not provided to the government
  • Using non-public “inside” information to obtain an unfair advantage to win a contract
  • Winning a contract by paying bribes or kickbacks
  • Providing defective or substandard goods and falsifying paperwork to cover up the defect
  • Receiving an overpayment by the government and failing to report the overpayment
  • Billing the government for non-contract related activity
  • Falsely certifying that something has passed a quality control test
  • Charging the government more than once for the same product or service
  • Certifying that work was performed by qualified personnel when it was not
  • Falsely certifying that the company is a qualified minority or veteran owned business
  • Submitted false service records or samples

These are just some of the examples of how dishonest government contractors commit fraud on the government and waste your taxpayer dollars.

If you have personal knowledge of a company or individual committing fraud on the government, you may be eligible to bring a whistleblower claim under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Contact one of our whistleblower attorneys for a free and confidential consultation at 877-915-4040.

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