If you take a look at how the False Claims Act got its start, you will uncover a storied history stemming from the American Civil War. In an act vehemently championed by President Abraham Lincoln, the FCA arose amidst widespread fraud against soldiers and units by unscrupulous individuals and corporations looking to take advantage of war-torn, vulnerable infantrymen. More specifically, history reveals a startling epidemic of defense contracts wherein contractors would sell soldiers used or worn goods – or worse, would take the government’s money and not sell anything at all.
Government Unseals Ammunition Fraud Case
In many FCA investigations, the Department of Justice requests that the case remain under seal until it is ready for judicial review or otherwise ready for public scrutiny. Publicizing a whistleblower case too soon can result in a compromised investigation or unlawful cover-up of evidence.
In a case progressing through the federal courts in Pennsylvania, a defense contractor allegedly committed firearms fraud by knowingly shipping defective bullets to the Department of Homeland Security during a period dating back to 2007. In fact, the whistleblower is also claiming unlawful retaliation after he was fired from his position at the National Firearms Training and Tactical Training Unit for making a claim of fraud. The whistleblower brought charges against his employer, Alliant Techsystems, Inc.
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that between 30 and 40 percent of ammunition provided by the Federal Cartridge Company failed to pass government specifications but were nonetheless shipped to agencies like Immigration and Customers Enforcement and other security groups. The contracts with the US government added up to close to $90 million.
According to the plaintiff’s assertions, the shipments contained bullets with less-than-ideal gunpowder loads, causing bullets to stick in the gun when fired. Alternatively, some bullets were loaded with too much gun powder which damaged the gun when fired. Other shipments contained bullets with no gunpowder at all. The whistleblower commented that, over time, he grew increasingly concerned over user safety and could not understand why shipment after shipment contained defective bullets.
The U.S. government opted to intervene in the case in July of this year.
Fraud against the government is not limited to healthcare or Medicare misspending. It can appear in any area involving government funds. If you are aware of fraud involving government money, we encourage you to speak with a whistleblower attorney today.