Bribery and bid-rigging by government contractors can form the basis for whistleblower lawsuits under the False Claims Act. Both of these fraudulent practices are commonly used by contractors in order to obtain government contracts, and these practices can deprive the government of receiving the best products and services for the fairest price. For instance, a contractor may pay money or gifts to a decision-making government official as an inducement to award a contract that the contractor would otherwise not have received.
Contractors also may act in collusion with other contractors by paying them to intentionally bid too high, or to not bid at all, so that the government contract will be awarded at an inflated price. Both of these practices can give rise to violations of the False Claims Act because if contracts are entered into through these actions then any claim for payment submitted thereafter may be considered a false claim.
Real World Examples of Recent Bribery and Bid-Rigging False Claims Act Cases:
- 2012: Harbert Corporation and related entities paid $47 million to settle claims stemming from a whistleblower lawsuit that they violated the False Claims Act. It was alleged that the companies engaged in a bid-rigging scheme for a USAID-funded contract to be performed in Egypt in 1980s and 1990s by paying potential bidders not to bid at all or bid too high.
- 2011: Accenture LLP paid $63.675 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought pursuant to the False Claims Act. The whistleblowers alleged that Accenture rigged bids for federal information technology contracts, received kickbacks, and inflated prices. As a result of the settlement, the whistleblowers received an award of $14 million.