Other Types of Fraud
Berger Montague’s Whistleblower, Qui Tam & False Claims Act practice group represents whistleblowers alleging other types of fraud against the United States and state governments.
Unfortunately, there are virtually no limits to the number and type of fraud schemes that unscrupulous individuals can commit, as there can be fraud anywhere the government spends money. Below are some additional examples of fraud that can be committed against the government and therefore be subject to potential detection by whistleblowers and qui tam relators:
- Unclaimed Property and Failure to Escheat — All 50 states have laws requiring the holders of property that does not belong to them to give, i.e., “escheat,” that property to the state if the owner cannot be found. Companies that accumulate unclaimed property and fail to escheat it to the state in question can be held liable for this conduct.
- Underpayment of Royalties on Federal and Indian Land — Companies that operate oil and gas production facilities on federal or Indian land, and companies that harvest timber or other resources from the land, such as coal, are required to pay a percentage of the value of that property to the federal government and/or Indian tribes. Companies that underpay or fail to pay these royalties can be held liable for non-payment.
- Customs Fraud — Companies that import goods to the United States are required to pay “customs duties” to the government, which are based on the value of the imported goods. Companies that undervalue imported goods, misclassify goods, or misrepresent the point of origin of the goods to avoid paying the full amount due to the government can be liable for this conduct.
- Environmental Fraud — The federal and state governments, including through the federal Environmental Protection Agency, pay millions of dollars per year to companies to clean up hazardous waste sites and to perform other environmentally-based work. Companies that intentionally overcharge the government, or who fail to perform the work designated in their contracts, can be held liable.
- Student Loans — Federal and state governments provide low interest loans to students entering various post-high school academic centers. In recent years, many for-profit schools illegally recruited students who are the beneficiaries of such loans but who are not suited to the school. For-profit schools also may provide an education to students while misrepresenting the likelihood that the students will be able to find a job after graduation, creating possible liability to the government if there were government loans involved. These schools can be held liable for this conduct.
- TARP/Bailout Funds — The federal government has provided hundreds of billions of dollars to companies across the country in an effort to stimulate the economy. In most cases, in order to get this money, the companies are required to meet certain standards, or to agree to use the money in a particular way. The failure to meet these requirements can lead to liability.
- “Yield Burning” — Financial institutions who charge municipalities excessive prices for United States Treasuries with respect to certain types of tax exempt bond refinancing can be held liable for this conduct.
No Fees Without Recovery
Berger Montague’s Whistleblower, Qui Tam & False Claims Act practice group litigates cases on a contingent fee basis, so whistleblowers do not pay attorneys’ fees or court costs unless there is a recovery.
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