Earlier this week, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced the formation of a new Procurement Collusion Strike Force (the “Strike Force”), which will focus on investigating and prosecuting crimes that undermine the integrity of the government contracting process. The new Strike Force is similar in structure to the strike force model that DOJ has long used to target health care fraud across the country. The Strike Force will bring together prosecutors from DOJ’s Antitrust Division and select U.S. Attorney’s Offices, including offices in Pennsylvania and Ohio, along with investigators from the FBI, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and other federal Offices of Inspector General.
The creation of the new Strike Force clearly signals DOJ’s continued intent to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of companies allegedly engaged in bid-rigging or related fraudulent schemes. As the Department highlighted in announcing the creation of the Strike Force, recent bid-rigging enforcement efforts have resulted in criminal charges against both individuals and entities, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in criminal fines and related civil settlements. Allegations of bid-rigging or similar conduct also may serve as a basis for civil liability under the False Claims Act, including through actions initiated by whistleblowers. Given the current administration’s focus on procurement fraud, corporations, and executives engaged in the government contracting process would be well served by proactively reviewing and strengthening compliance programs designed to prevent governmental intervention.
The former prosecutors and law enforcement agents at Flannery Georgalis have broad experience in matters related to the government contracting process and are available to assist clients in reviewing existing compliance programs or in responding to governmental investigations and enforcement matters.
To read more about the new Procurement Collusion Strike Force click here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-procurement-collusion-strike-force-coordinated-national-response