Federal Contracting Fraud in Tampa, Florida
Federal government contracting started in the United States during the Revolutionary War and continues to this day. While government contracting is indispensable to keeping the federal government working efficiently, fraud has always been a problem. As Ben Franklin once keenly observed, “there is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily fall than that of defrauding the government.”
Tampa, Florida is home to MacDill Airforce base. Because the military relies on civilian contractors for so many services and goods, federal contract fraud investigations and prosecutions are not uncommon in Tampa.
What is Federal Contracting Fraud?
Federal contract and procurement fraud may take place in a number of ways. Here are some examples of federal contract fraud:
Need Recognition Schemes: in exchange for a bribe or benefit from a private contractor, a federal government contracting officer convinces his or her supervisor to purchase unneeded or excessive products or services.
Bid Tailoring Schemes: in exchange for a bribe or other benefit from a private contractor, a federal government contracting officer manipulates bids to give an unfair advantage to a contractor.
Collusion Between Bidders: competitors for government bids collude to defeat the marketplace and inflate prices. Sometimes, competitors ensure that a preordained bidder wins a bid, and then that bid winner awards sub-contracts to the other bidders.
Leaking Bid Information: a federal government contracting officer leaks information relating to the federal government’s needs or confidential information from competing bidders.
False Invoicing: A contractor submits an invoice for work that never occurred.
Substitution: contractor provides poor quality products and certifies that they meet contract specifications knowing that to be false.
Bid Splitting: A contracting officer breaks up a large project into several smaller projects that fall below mandatory reporting levels
What Federal Government Agencies Investigate Federal Contract Fraud in Tampa, Florida?
The criminal fraud section of the United States Department of Justice, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, the FBI, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigation are some of the agencies that investigate and prosecute contract and procurement fraud in Tampa, Florida.
Also, private individuals and whistleblowers may sue under the False Claims Act to hold contractors responsible for committing fraud. The private individuals, called realtors, receive a portion of any monies awarded. These lawsuits are called qui tam actions.
What Federal Criminal Laws are Used to Prosecute Federal Contract Fraud in Tampa, Florida?
Wire Fraud: Wire fraud is financial fraud that involves the use of telecommunications (for example: the internet, phone lines, radio, or television). Wire fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison and a one million dollar fine.
Mail Fraud: Mail fraud is the use the United States mail, or the use of a private or commercial interstate carrier like UPS or Federal Express, to carry out a scheme to defraud someone. Mail fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison and a one million dollar fine.
Conspiracy to Defraud the United States: A “conspiracy” is an agreement by two or more people to commit an unlawful act. In other words, it is a kind of “partnership” for criminal purposes, in this case to defraud the United States or any of its agencies.
The False Claims Act: a federal law that imposes criminal liability on persons and companies that defraud the federal government. A fraud charged under the False Claims Act can result in a prison sentence of up to 5 years. The law includes a qui tam provision that allows persons (called realtors) to file lawsuits against whomever is committing the fraud upon the federal government. Relators receive a portion of any monies awarded, which provides an incentive for them to file suit.
False Statements and Obstruction of Justice: These laws punish the making of materially false statements, destroying evidence, or tampering with witnesses in connection with a potential federal court proceeding. These offenses are punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison.
Procurement Integrity Act: Prohibits the improper disclosure of, or obtaining contractor bid information or government source selection information before, the award of a federal contract. This offense is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison.
Have You Been Accused of Federal Contract Fraud in Tampa, Florida? Contact Criminal Defense Attorney David C. Hardy
Attorney David C. Hardy is a highly experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney. Attorney Hardy is a former prosecutor that is Florida Board Certified and Nationally Board Certified as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. He has extensive experience handling Tampa federal fraud cases, and he takes pride in guiding his clients through the criminal justice process and working with them to obtain the best possible results in each and every case. Contact the Hardy Law Firm, P.A. and get help today.