A man was recently convicted of four counts of wire fraud and sentenced to 30 months in prison and a $1 million fine in connection with a scheme of recruiting service-disabled veterans as owners of a construction company to receive specific government contracts. The man was also sentenced to one year of supervised release by the court. There are certain steps that service-disabled veteran should take to avoid being deceived by individuals, because unfortunately government contracts in a variety of industries have been known to engage in fraudulent activity. Some of the most common types of fraud include federal acquisition regulation fraud and government procurement fraud. Individuals including veterans who are aware of third parties performing activity to defraud the government may even be eligible to file whistleblower claims. In the case that an individual becomes aware of fraudulent activity, it is also often a wise idea to retain the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney.
Requirements to Convict an Individual of Mail or Wire Fraud
The individual in the earlier example was convicted of wire fraud, but mail fraud against the government is very similar in nature. To establish that an individual has committed either mail or wire fraud against the federal government, a United States attorney must demonstrate two elements. First, an attorney for the federal government must prove the formation of a scheme or plan to defraud the government. Second, an attorney for the federal government must show that either mail or interstate wire transmission, which can include the Internet, was used to further this scheme.
Resulting Penalties for Mail or Wire Fraud
When the government can convict an individual of committing either mail or wire fraud, the penalties are particularly strict. The sentence for wire fraud can result in individuals being forced to pay fines as well a term of imprisonment of up to twenty years.
The False Claims Act
Veterans who report fraudulent activity to the government can be awarded compensation. The information that is disclosed, however, must relate to private contractors or vendors misusing government funds. This compensation Act, the False Claims Act, compensates between 15 to 30% of whatever the government collects from the wrongdoers. Veteran should be vigilant of certain behavior that might be classified as fraud including: individuals who overcharge the government, contractors that bill the federal government for more hours of service than the hours that were actually worked, contractors who sell material to the federal government while aware that these goods are defective in nature and individuals that falsely represent themselves as service-disabled veterans for the purpose of securing a particular contract with the Veterans Administration.
Contact Knowledgeable Legal Counsel
Founded by an attorney who served in the United States military, the law firm of Whitcomb, Selinsky, & McAuliffe, PC is focused on helping veterans. If you are a veteran in need of the assistance of a skilled lawyer, do not hesitate to contact our practice by submitting our online form or calling us at (866) 476-4558.