NJ Procurement Collusion Strike Force Defense Attorneys
Defense Attorneys for Procurement Collusion Strike Force: What You Need to Know
Since November 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has established a remarkable initiative known as the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF), which specifically investigates people and entities suspected of committing deception against government agencies. As a government contractor or healthcare worker billing Medicare, any wrong move could put you under scrutiny. The DOJ is working hard to implement the False Claims Act and other statutes to help curb the loss of billions every year associated with Fraud.
The formation of PCSF was officially announced by William Barr on November 5, 2019. Its primary objective is uncovering and combating bid-rigging conspiracies perpetrated across various industries. The strike force’s focus currently targets just thirteen jurisdictions throughout America, including Central California, Colorado, South Florida, North Georgia, North Illinois, East Michigan, South New York, East Pennsylvania, Eastern and Northern Texas, Eastern Washington D.C., and Virginia.
These regions account for some of the most densely-populated cities nationwide like Miami, Atlanta, Detroit among others as well as rural county areas. The PCSF works primarily in conjunction with several federals agencies across federal lines such as Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI), United States Postal Services(USPS) amongst others.
Focus on Collusion
While many other strike forces like prescription Medicare fraud have existed before now what sets this one apart from its predecessors is that it aims to tackle collusive government fraud cases such as violations under antitrust laws. Consequently, its no surprise that some of the essential targets that usually pose red flags are encapsulated in MAPS- an acronym used by PCSF briefings/ tutorials designed to guide people through potential red flags while conducting business with government agencies.
MAPS – Market Application Patterns and Suspicion; four different identifiers outline potential red flags to guide contractors or healthcare providers in avoiding generating unwarranted scrutiny from government agencies.
Market factors play critical roles that could signify collusion. Any bid satisfying any of these red flags could trigger an investigation by PCSF:
Not enough competition for bids.
Predominance; where a tiny number of large companies control a vast slice/portion of the market.
The quality standardization or termination which implies price overrides quality as the primary determining factor
Careful attention is also paid to the application process. Suspected collusion occurs if competing contractors tend to have too many similarities in their proposals. Such behaviors generate reasonable suspicion subject to further PCSF investigation when they contain:
Typos, mathematical errors, and handwriting styles similar across proposals from different contractors.
Bids submitted from similar accounts and IP addresses that hardly display any differences,
Proposals retaining last-minute alterations across multiple bidders
Metadata indicating multiple proposals created primarily by just one entity.
The Department of Justice also keeps an eye out for specific patterns indicating unfair competition truly exists amongst firms bidding for government contracts. Examples include;
Rotating winners amongst competitors despite recurring phases
Victory in similar quantities during routine contract renewals among competitors
Omnipresence winners depicting dominance over other contenders concerning a particular bid,
Bidding Winners award losers opportunities to participate with them as subcontractors.
Over time, fewer bidders submit proposal(s) than previously required.
Finally, several kinds of behavior may incur suspicion leading up to investigations when conducting business with government agencies – this is because evidence(s) suggest collusive practices between various companies working together to defraud Federal departments/agencies. These behaviors include;
The same contractor submitting several proposals successively
Inability on the part of the company winning contracts to complete project work yet submits winning bids repeatedly
A representative already knows the winning contractors asking price or how likely their win percentage is.
Strikingly, collusion represents a highly criminal form of fraud with severe implications. Penalties are high and could include lengthy terms of imprisonment, steep fines, not to mention business closures. Therefore, it’s vital that you remain fully compliant with all the Government’s established policies while conducting any business activities. In fact, proactive legal assistance in light of substantial industry knowledge backed by extensive experience may save you from potential investigation and prosecution for alleged fraud.
NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS