Ensuring that the United States gets fair value for its military spending is a vital goal with life and death implications. Individuals with knowledge of fraud by defense contractors can help advance safety by, and receive compensation for, reporting fraud.
The False Claims Act offers rewards, as well as protections, for employees of military contractors who report fraud on the Defense Department. Service men and/or women, military workers, accountants, auditors and other persons aware of fraud, false contract claims and/or false certifications with respect to military sales and/or purchases may also be eligible to serve as a whistle blower. The “qui tam” provision of the False Claims Act allows individuals to sue a wrongdoer on behalf of the U.S. government.
Significant Fraud in Defense Contracts
In 2011, the Department of Defense (DOD) released a report on the dollar value of DOD contracts entered into with contractors that were indicted for, settled charges of, fined, or convicted of fraud in connection with any government contracts.
The DOD report found $682 million in such contracts during 2007-2009. In the same period, 43 DOD contractors were suspended from contracting with DOD because of fraud related activities. In the same three-year period, 91 DOD contractors incurred fraud judgments of over $1 million and 120 DOD contractors settled fraud charges for over $1 million; these same contractors were awarded $280 billion in contracts during the same period.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders called the DOD’s report “shocking.” Senator Sanders stated, “The ugly truth is that virtually all of the major defense contractors in this country for years have been engaged in systemic fraudulent behavior, while receiving hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.”
It isn’t just money at stake in defense fraud: Lives hang in the balance. Thousands of brave young soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan defending United States interests. To the extent that any death or injury was caused by defects in weapons, weapons systems, ammunition, logistics, housing, electrical wiring, planes, helicopters, transport vehicles and the like, contractors should be held to account for their mistakes.
Success in Representing Defense/Military Contractor Employees in False Claims Cases
Lieff Cabraser has significant experience serving individuals who have advanced life and safety interests in connection with contractor weapons failings. We served as co-counsel for a relator (an individual who stepped forward and exposed fraud against the government) who alleged that ATK Launch Systems knowingly sold defective and potentially dangerous illumination flares to the United States military in violation of the federal False Claims Act.
The complaint alleged that ATK knew its flares would ignite when dropped from short distances, in violation of the contract. Lieff Cabraser worked side-by-side with the Department of Justice in litigating the case, including reviewing documents, taking key depositions, preparing experts to support the case, preparing for critical court hearings, and participating in the mediation. In April 2012, the parties reached a settlement valued at $37 million, from which the individual who originally exposed the fraud was also compensated.
Lieff Cabraser also has military contractor fraud cases currently under seal and under investigation. We have developed expertise in evaluating these claims in light of the complex contracts and military regulations that apply.
False Claims Act Attorneys
We represent individuals in a wide range of federal False Claims Act and similar state law cases. We have the resources, experience, and skill to appropriately investigate even the largest and most complex matters and take them all the way through trial. Learn more about our work in helping individuals stop fraud committed against the government and obtain recoveries.