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Any business entering into a public contract with a federal, state or local government agency, or a contract that is funded in whole or in part with federal or state money, is likely to find itself in a position of unprecedented scrutiny. Now more than ever, government officials are actively seeking to ferret out fraud, waste, and abuse in public procurements. The success of prosecutions and the multi-million dollar settlements in a number of recent high-profile cases have made it unlikely that this will change in the near future. This level of scrutiny will only increase as law enforcement agencies, regulators, auditors and the media attempt to satisfy a growing demand for accountability when it comes to the use of public funds.
The current enforcement efforts make accountability demands of the past seem almost quaint in comparison. As a result of the heightened attention, financial service businesses, healthcare providers, government contractors, and construction contractors are increasingly being accused of a variety of fraud. Offenses often include M/W/DBE fraud, improper billing and overpayment, bribery and kickback schemes, misuse of funds, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the False Claims Act, and procurement violations.
Public waste, in particular, has always been an attractive target for politicians. Government agencies often view enforcement actions as a tempting source of funds – euphemistically referred to as “collars for dollars.” While monetary settlements and penalties can have a significant impact on a company’s business, they are only one type of potential penalty that can be imposed. Another sanction that a company can face is debarment. A debarred contractor is ineligible to receive future public contracts, which can cause the contractor to go out of business.
In response to this new climate of increased enforcement, Peckar & Abramson offers unique capabilities to implement compliance programs, conduct independent investigations, and assess risks that businesses doing work for a public entity may face. Peckar & Abramson provides advice and best practices to protect our clients’ interests. When trouble arises, Peckar & Abramson helps clients identify the issues and the levels of risk that confront their businesses. Our attorneys advise clients on how to solve problems when possible and how to craft a defense when necessary. Peckar & Abramson knows how to prepare and protect clients.
Peckar & Abramson has extensive experience in investigative, compliance, and defense work for a broad client base ranging from family controlled businesses to Fortune 500 companies, in a wide variety of industries. Much of our work has involved helping clients navigate the high-risk waters of government contracting regulations. We assist clients in understanding complex regulations governing public contracts and provide guidance for developing internal compliance programs and controls.
Peckar & Abramson develops tailored compliance programs to meet the invariably different needs of each individual client. As part of this service, our attorneys assist clients to establish codes of conduct and internal policies and procedures, implement hotline reporting systems, and conduct ongoing ethics and compliance training for numerous clients.
Our attorneys are skilled at performing internal investigations to detect misconduct that can present serious criminal and civil exposure, and has the potential to threaten a business’s reputation and operations. Such investigations are conducted in a discrete fashion so that ongoing business operations may continue uninterrupted.
Our investigation results and recommendations can be evaluated by in-house counsel and executive management working with other attorneys retained by the client, or by counsel with which a company has a long-standing relationship. This will be done without jeopardizing these relationships and will ensure that other attorneys are not made witnesses, as this can potentially disqualify them from legal representation of the client. By using a skilled outside legal resource like Peckar & Abramson, a company can be assured continuity in decision-making when it matters most.
Peckar & Abramson has represented clients in dealing with federal and state prosecutors, various government regulators, inspector general investigators and grand jury investigations.
We have conducted audits and investigations arising from alleged:
The pressure on businesses that perform work involving government funding sources to avoid investigation and prosecution is growing and will not subside in the near future. Companies can no longer be reactive in choosing to ignore minor improprieties. An uninformed company risks damaging its hard-earned reputation and its financial stability if they are caught chasing a problem. Because the stakes are higher than ever, the need for a reliable, aggressive legal partner has never been greater. Peckar & Abramson is uniquely positioned to provide corporate compliance services in an objective and thorough manner without losing sight of the sensitive nature of investigations that may affect the reputation of a corporation and the lives of its employees.