Representation of Whistleblowers Reporting Fraud in National Defense Contracts
Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto represents Harry Barko, Jr. in Barko v. Halliburton.
Mr. Barko, a former contract administrator for KBR stationed at Camp Al Asad in Fallujah, Iraq, discovered that Halliburton/KBR and other contractors inflated the costs of services provided on military bases in Iraq. Mr. Barko brought an action alleging violations of the False Claims Act by Halliburton Company and its subcontractors. Halliburton and the other defendants asked the court to dismiss the action against them. On July 8, 2013, the U.S. District Court District of Columbia ruled that Barko “provided a detailed description of the specific falsehoods that are the basis for his suit,” denied Halliburton’s request and allowed the qui tam lawsuit to proceed.
National Defense Fraud misuses taxpayer money, and can put lives at risk. The most common types of National Defense Fraud include: illegal billing schemes and overbilling; substitution of inferior equipment; and lack of quality control.
National Defense Fraud violates the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act is 31 USC § 3729-3733. The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act allow persons and entities with evidence of fraud against federal programs or contracts to sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the United States government. In qui tam actions, the government has the right to intervene and join the action. If the government declines, the private plaintiff may proceed on his or her own.
Violators of the False Claims Act are liable for three times the dollar amount that the government is defrauded and civil penalties of $5,000 to $10,000 for each false claim. A qui tam plaintiff can receive between 15 and 30 percent of the total recovery from the defendant, whether through a favorable judgment or settlement. To be eligible to recover money under the Act, you must file a qui tam lawsuit. Merely informing the government about the violation is not enough. You only receive an award if and after the government recovers money from the defendant as a result of your suit.
If you have knowledge of false claims and would like to know how Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto can help you with your case, please contact us by completing our Consultation Request Form.
For more information, see our resource page on the False Claims Act or visit the Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto Blog.