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Criminal Investigations of Government Contractors

February 2, 2019

Government contractors are businesses in the private sector who offer their services to select departments, often at a federal level. Receiving a government contract can be a serious boon for a company’s prospects, but they need to make sure to follow the laws regarding contracts. These are some of the things to look out for if you’re undergoing investigation as a government contractor.

What warrants an investigation?

The history of corruption with government contractors means that law enforcement officers need to keep tabs on those working with the government. Just having a contract isn’t grounds for investigation, but suspicious activity can be sussed out with minimal difficulty by experienced law enforcement officials. A government contract contains information that all parties need to recognize as true in order for it to be valid. If there’s information that you present as truthful when it’s fraudulent, such as forged licensure, you could be facing charges of fraud.

How do government contractors find themselves under investigation?

Government contractors often find themselves under investigation not for what they do while under contract but what they do to gain the contracts. Because of the ruthless competition to gain government contracts, businesses may try shady tactics to weed out their competition or to curry favor with the government officials awarding the contracts. In addition to presenting false documents and making misleading claims, a potential government contractor might try to bribe a government figure to secure a contract. Acceptance of the bribe could result in prosecution for the government figure as well.

Working with restricted nations

Being a government contractor means being entrusted with certain privileges. You may consider providing your services to other nations, but you need to ensure that you’re not working with any nation that is explicitly restricted from doing business with the United States. This can include nations that are undergoing sanctions from the United States. If you’re unsure about whether it’s legal to do business with a country, consult with any trustworthy government officials.

Consequences for violating a government contract

Being found in violation of federal, state or local laws as a government contractor could lead to the indefinite suspension of your business with the government. This could mean a loss of work for those who were hired as part of the project who had no part in the corruption, such as construction workers. You can also face prosecution for misleading the government or any other illegal acts.

How to know if you’re being investigated

Even if you haven’t been charged with a crime as a government contractor, you may be under investigation. Being confronted by law enforcement regarding your business dealings is a sure sign of an investigation. Be careful about answering any question, as you might end up unwittingly incriminating yourself. Your right to remain silent is very important during an investigation.

Finding a lawyer

You need to get in touch with legal representation as soon as possible. If you have a legal team, discuss your options with them as soon as possible. They will advise you with how best to proceed through the rest of the investigation. You want to be as prepared as possible for any prosecution. You need legal counsel that’s experienced with fighting cases on behalf of government contractors. A desirable lawyer will review your case thoroughly and locate any flaws in the case against you. The best way to thank them for their service is to get all the necessary documentation in order promptly.

Becoming a government contractor can help launch your company to new peaks, but being caught up in a criminal investigation can lead to all sorts of problems that are difficult to untangle yourself from. If you believe or learn that you’re under investigation, make sure that you consult with your lawyer. You want to stay abreast of the law and be in full compliance of it.

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