The Case of the Whistle Blower
A government contractor specializing in IT support requested help when their $10 million dollar base year contract with a Department of Defense agency was put at risk. The cause: a disgruntled employee "whistleblower" who sent a letter to the PM and CO, stating that the company was defrauding the government.
Late on a Friday, the company president received a call from senior DoD personnel demanding an explanation and informing the company president that absent an adequate explanation, the agency would terminate the contract and refer the matter to the agency OIG. This meant that the client was facing a possible OIG investigation, criminal prosecution, and debarment. Our firm immediately assessed the situation and developed a plan of action by Monday, based on our firm conducting a thorough investigation and submitting findings to the agency. Together with our client, we presented the plan to the agency, who approved our approach.
After reviewing all documentation and meeting with employees, the PM and CO, and the disgruntled former employee, we determined that the former employee's allegations were without merit, but that there were some practices in place that needed improvement. We prepared a plan of improvement for the client, which was immediately implemented. We persuaded the employee to retract his statement in writing and to apologize for the harm done to the client.
As a result, the agency agreed that no wrongdoing had occurred, commended our client on the excellent investigation and follow-up, nominated our client for outstanding job recognition, and exercised the option years on the contract.
The Case of the Bumbling OIG Investigation
A government contractor specializing in developing information systems faced a government contractor's biggest nightmare when one day two dozen OIG agents arrived at corporate headquarters, served a subpoena, sequestered company employees in conference rooms for hours for questioning, and confiscated over 200 boxes of company files. The Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) informed our client that he planned to charge the client and the company president with a felony for overcharging the government by two million dollars on a three million dollar contract.
Working quickly, our firm helped the company select experienced white collar defense counsel, met with employees to keep them calm - and working on the client's numerous other contracts - and prepared company officers on what to say to employees. As a team, the defense attorney and our firm met repeatedly with the AUSA and lead OIG inspector and provided detailed responses to questions and allegations raised. Our firm conducted a thorough review of company documents, interviews of key employees, and a meticulous review of the contract and ancillary documents.
As a result, we showed the AUSA that while the contract did include particular requirements, government personnel managing the contract had changed the requirements. The AUSA agreed to dramatically reduced plea of the company overcharging the government by $6,000, not two million, and no charges (and no jail time) against the company president. The AUSA made it a point to state that the reason he agreed to such a reduced plea was that he did not want to face our firm at a trial.
The Case of the Confessing Client
A DoD agency awarded a contract to our client to produce custom parts for machines, as a part of a highly secretive national security project. As part of the process to obtain a personal security clearance, the company president took a polygraph test. During the test he told the examiner that the company had committed fraud against the government in performing the contract. The company's white collar defense attorney asked our firm to help resolve the matter, as at that point, our client was facing a possible OIG investigation, criminal prosecution and debarment.
Our firm conducted a thorough investigation, reviewing the contract, contract records, company records, proposal documents, and interviewing the company president and other employees, and determined that only a handful of employees were in the position to have carried out the fraud charged. Focusing on these employees, our firm discovered that the company had made some mistakes, as had the government employees managing the contract, but that our client had not intentionally defrauded the government. In addition, our firm discovered that the company president was confused by the general questions asked by the examiner, and was referring to an incident long past where an employee had embezzled money - in no way impacting the government.
As a result, the criminal defense attorney used our findings to show no intentional wrongdoing had occurred. The investigation was dropped and no civil investigation was brought. The company submitted another proposal at the end of the contract term and was awarded a new contract.
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