There have been attempts to defraud the United States Military for about as long as there has been a military. In 1863, the federal government enacted the False Claims Act to target defense contractors attempting to defraud the military during the Civil War.
This law is also known as the Lincoln law.
Under this law you are liable for the government’s damages and will also be required to pay a hefty penalty for each offense, adjusted for inflation. As making a false claim is also a fraudulent activity, you can, additionally, face charges.
The law is most often used by whistleblowers, who can sue the perpetrator on behalf of the federal government, receive rewards for whistleblowing, and can receive protections. Whistleblowers can obtain 15% to 30% of the government’s recovery for a successful case.
If a whistleblower launches this lawsuit against you and your company, you can be charged under 18 USC Section 287, which explicitly states that it is a federal crime to provide the United States government with any false, fictitious, or fraudulent claim in order to receive any money, goods, or services from the government.
A recent example would be a $4.6 million suit levied against Molina.
In order to prove a violation of the False Claims Act, the prosecutor must show that you knew you were deceiving the government in order to get money, and that furthermore you intended to do so.
Note that it does not matter whether or not you received the money. You can be charged even if the government saw something fishy about the transaction and ultimately chose to avoid paying you as a result.
There are usually two defenses we employ. The first is that you merely made a mistake of fact and so did not intend to defraud the government.
The second is that your claims were factually true in some way.
If you have been caught up in a suit because your company engaged in wrongdoing you didn’t know about we may also be able to help you by cutting a deal which will allow you to offer the government evidence in return for your own freedom.
A False Claims Act charge can result in a 5 year prison sentence. In addition, the prosecution may find other charges to levy against you in the hopes of increasing your sentence, forcing a plea bargain, or making the False Claims charge “stick.”
Take these charges seriously. Get help from a qualified, experienced federal criminal defense lawyer. Reach out to Koch Law today.
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