Investigations Under The False Claims Act
An agent shows up on your door wanting to discuss some application, research, or document you prepared. Your instinct is correct if it tells you that the visit may be more serious than the agent lets on. These agents could be investigating claims submitted to the government for crop subsidies, payment of food stamps, or medical research. You should not take such an investigation for granted. The impact it could have your career, reputation, or financial situation could be dramatic. It could result in criminal charges.
We understand the uncertainty, fear, and stress you face when confronted with such an investigation. Your career may be on the line. All the financial success you have built could be in jeopardy. You may face a criminal prosecution. We have years of experience assisting people in your situation. We have cultivated relationships with investigators and experts prepared to assist in your defense. Allow us to help you.
The False Claims Act was enacted during the Civil War to combat fraud by defense contractors. The False Claims Act has been amended several times and covers allegations of knowingly submitting false claims to the government. The government may recover three times it’s damages and various penalties.
The government can pursue claims or allow a private citizen to file a suit on behalf of the government. These actions are qui tam suits. Qui tam suits are allowed to encourage citizens to reveal alleged frauds that would not be discovered without the assistance of someone with inside knowledge of the fraud. The plaintiffs in these actions are referred to as whistleblowers.
While these investigations begin as civil investigations and proceed to civil complaints in some cases, targets of these investigations can be prosecuted under federal criminal statutes. These statutes may include wire fraud where the claims are submitted over the wire, bank fraud if the claims involve a financial institution, or making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001.
The False Claims Act covers a broad range of conduct. Anyone submitting a claim to the government (almost everyone) is subject to scrutiny under the False Claims Act. The goal is to recover money the government concludes it paid based on fraudulent or false claims.
The consequences will be much greater to an organization or individual. Your reputation, financial progress, and liberty are at stake. You should take these investigations or lawsuits seriously.
An investigation under the False Claims Act is a white-collar criminal investigation and white-collar criminal investigations are complex. The conduct the government is investigating often involves legitimate business practices. It is important to have experienced counsel representing you during any investigation that may result in a criminal charge, especially something as serious as wire fraud, bank fraud, or making false statments.
Given the multitude of documents involved in almost anyone’s life these days, these investigations include many cancelled checks, receipts, accounting records, bank statements, credit card statements, and tax returns.
Counsel must be prepared to analyze this information and consider alternatives to willful conduct as well take into consideration and offer explanations for lawful behavior.
We have advised people during these investigations, consulted experts, and defended claims of criminal wire fraud.
We understand the monumental task of gathering documents for an independent review, the worry associated with not knowing where the government’s investigation will lead, and the danger of losing everything you have worked for. We are prepared to help you challenge these investigations and defend you at trial when necessary.
We understand you risk losing everything. We are criminal white-collar attorneys prepared to help you achieve your best possible results and get back to leading a productive life.