Wiley Rein LLP


Government Contracts | INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS AND FALSE CLAIMS ACT

Federal and state governments have become more aggressive in pursuing claims of contractor misconduct and fraud.  From representations made during the proposal stage to the final invoice submitted under a contract, nearly every action a contractor takes can be subject to a government investigation.  Wiley Rein’s Government Contracts attorneys have extensive experience navigating issues under the government’s expanding arsenal of criminal and civil actions, including the False Claims Act (FCA), the Anti-Kickback Act, Procurement Integrity Act, false statements, and fraud.   

Our Government Contracts attorneys regularly collaborate with our colleagues in the White Collar Defense & Government Investigations Practice to offer our collective expertise.  From internal investigations, to responses to government investigations, to defending our clients in lawsuits—our attorneys are thorough and effective, while also striving to resolve matters quickly and with minimal disruption to the client. 

Internal Investigations:

Whether in response to an internal report of misconduct or an agency investigation, the first step in addressing allegations of wrongdoing is often assessing their validity and attendant risks through an internal investigation.  Wiley Rein attorneys are experienced in all aspects of structuring and conducting high-quality internal investigations, enabling clients to evaluate potential exposure and to marshal defenses to potential allegations of misconduct.  We routinely conduct investigations under severe time constraints, performing simultaneous interviews, data forensic analysis, collection, and review, and legal analyses.  We work with our clients to identify solutions that are sensitive to the clients’ business needs and that comply with contractors’ statutory, regulatory, and ethical obligations

Representative experience includes:

  • Conducted internal investigations for large software contractor relating to allegations of collusion with resellers in the bidding process and kickbacks.
  • Conducted numerous internal investigations as surrogate in-house counsel for major government contractor and assisted with establishing process and protocols for the conduct of internal investigations.
  • Conducted internal investigation for health care contractor into allegations that contract award violated procurement regulations.
  • Conducted internal investigations for international contractor relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  • Conducted internal investigation for Navy contractor in connection with reporting and investigative obligations relating to allegations of billing fraud and contract performance issues.

Government Investigations:

A subpoena or a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from an agency Inspector General (IG) or the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is often the first sign a contractor receives of an ongoing government investigation into potential fraud or of a sealed civil or criminal FCA complaint.  Wiley Rein attorneys regularly assist clients responding to subpoenas, CIDs, audits from agencies, and congressional inquiries and investigations.  Our attorneys also counsel clients in connection with investigations by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) and the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).  We routinely coordinate the collection of documents from employees in multiple cities and countries, employing a variety of collection channels to keep the transfer of materials secure while minimizing disruption. 

We have extensive experience coordinating with federal investigators to narrow the scope of government subpoenas, focus investigations on particular areas of government concern, and ultimately negotiate resolutions on terms that are most favorable for our clients.  We have successfully convinced prosecutors to decline prosecution before an investigation by a grand jury in many cases, including cases relating to improper advance access to procurement information, cost mischarging, product substitution, false claims, and false statements. 

Representative experience includes:

  • Navigated a search warrant and investigation on behalf of a an Army contractor, persuading DOJ not to take action on a variety of criminal and civil allegations that arose from a series of hotline complaints and whistleblower claims.
  • Represented a communications provider in concurrent investigations by DOJ, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding alleged misrepresentations in a government-funded program, convincing DOJ and SEC not to pursue criminal or civil actions and settling for a modest administrative remedy with the FCC.
  • Represented a contractor in response to civil and criminal allegations related to alleged falsified testing results for military products, and convinced DOJ to decline prosecution in favor of a modest civil settlement.

FCA and Procurement Fraud:

The FCA is a powerful and increasingly utilized government tool to address alleged fraud, waste, and abuse and to respond to contractor claims for increased costs.  Whatever type of FCA exposure a contractor faces, Wiley Rein has the experience to help. 

We have worked extensively with the Fraud Section of DOJ’s Civil Division Commercial Litigation Branch, and we have a long record of success in persuading the government not to intervene in private actions or to bring suit after investigations.  We also regularly negotiate favorable settlements prior to government intervention.  If the government or a private qui tam whistleblower pursues claims in federal court, Wiley Rein’s experienced litigators are prepared to vigorously defend our client’s interests and pursue the most favorable outcome.  We have won FCA cases at all stages of litigation, including dismissals, summary judgments, and verdicts.

Representative experience includes:

  • Secured an outright dismissal with prejudice of a $400 million FCA lawsuit brought by DOJ against a Louisiana-based shipbuilder alleging that the company made false statements and claims for payment in connection with a long-term effort to update the Coast Guard’s fleet and computer and communications systems.  See United States v. Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. et al., No. 2:12-cv-00920-SSV-ALC (E.D. La.).
  • Persuaded the government not to intervene against three contractors in industry-wide qui tam suits alleging improper allocation and disclosure of alliance benefits by technology vendors and affiliated resellers and systems integrators.
  • Secured dismissal of a qui tam suit by three former employees of a contractor who alleged FCA violations and retaliation, after convincing DOJ not to intervene and the Department of Labor not to pursue related allegations.  See United States ex rel. Burghard v. AECOM, et al., No. 2:08-cv-07389-ODW-CT (C.D. Cal).