Highway construction and other public works is one of the primary areas in which government contract fraud takes place. The federal government is responsible for constantly upgrading and building highways, bridges, and other buildings for the public interest, and the majority of the work that is done is provided by private contractors, and all too often these contractors are guilty of perpetrating highway construction fraud.
These contractors are awarded the responsibility for building or improving roads and bridges after providing competitive bids, and that is often where highway construction fraud first occurs. Companies may pay other companies not to bid, or to adjust their bid upwards in order to allow a contractor to appear more competitive. They do this in exchange for the promise of subcontracting work, or of kickbacks. Other types of fraud may involve payments to government officials in order to sway decisions towards the bidding company, falsely claiming to be a minority-owned business, charging for services that are not performed, or overcharging. Highway construction fraud can include inflating prices, double billing, performing substandard work with substandard materials, and falsifying certifications of quality.
Those who have evidence that a construction company is perpetrating highway construction fraud against federal or state governments have the option of reporting these frauds to the appropriate agency. Doing so not only performs a public service on behalf of the taxpayer, but also offers the possibility of substantial rewards to the whistleblower if the case is proven and resolved. Under the False Claims Act, if you are aware of this type of fraud, you are able to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the government against the company and to receive between 15% and 30% of any money that you help the government to recover.
When a private citizen is aware of highway construction fraud, they can file what is known as a qui tam lawsuit. Qui tam is part of a Latin phrase that translates into “he who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself,” and has come to mean filing a suit on behalf of the government. Filing this type of lawsuit is a highly specific and complex process that requires the assistance of an experienced whistleblower law firm that can help you take the evidence that you have and prepare a compelling complaint that will be accepted by the government and put you in a good position to stop the fraud that is being perpetrated.
When a whistleblower complaint is filed regarding highway construction fraud, the government will review the complaint and determine whether they want to take the case over or allow the whistleblower to continue on their own. Regardless of which happens, the whistleblower is entitled to a share of the recovery for any penalties assessed against the fraudulent company, and these awards can be significant.
If you are aware of highway construction fraud, your first and most important step is to seek qualified and experienced legal counsel. The attorneys of Bochetto & Lentz have the knowledge and resources you need to help you with the process. Call us today for more information and to make an appointment for a consultation.
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