With the end of the high levels of government contract spending during the Great Recession and the advent of sequestration and budget cuts, government contractors are competing for fewer and fewer opportunities. As this is occurring, government contracting officers, inspector generals, third-party contract administrators and law enforcement are significantly increasing their collective investigations of fraud, waste, and abuse and related False Claims Act and other statutory violations. Government contractors must prepare for these issues well in advance and ensure a well-developed plan is in place to investigate, evaluate, possibly report and respond to an investigation related to government contracting activities.
It seems like almost every day the government is either reporting the investigation or the settlement and prosecutions of government contractors and government employees for activities related to the False Claims Act. This statute prohibits government contractors, among others, from obtaining payments from the government based on fraud. To be liable, the government does not have to provide that the government contractor knew it was defrauding the government. Individuals and companies have been held liable or settled False Claims Act cases where the only evidence was that the government contractor had a culture of “deliberate ignorance” or “reckless disregard” for the fraudulent acts. In fact, the government contractor does not even need to have had an economic benefit from the fraudulent act to be liable under the False Claims Act.
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