Whistleblowing on Businesses that Fake Ownership & Control
Atlanta False Claims Act Attorney
Do you know a company that is faking its ownership in order to get DBE,
MBE or WBE contracts? Some companies are scooping up construction and
other government contracts by pretending to be owned by someone who qualifies
for the disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE), minority-owned business
(MBE) or woman-owned business (WBE) programs. If you know about a company
doing this, discuss whether you can help stop this fraud by filing suit
under the False Claims Act (FCA). Our lead attorney,
Lee Wallace, has been practicing for over 25 years. An honors grad of Harvard Law
School, she represents whistleblowers like you and has recovered millions
of dollars for her clients.
Whistleblowers who file False Claims Act lawsuits can help not only halt
fraud on these types of programs, but they can alsoreceive 15-30% of what the Government collects from the companies that cheated to get the contracts.
Find out whether you have a valid case during your
FREE initial consultation.
How the Government Determines DBEs
To encourage small businesses, Congress has directed federal agencies to
set up programs to ensure that small, socially and economically disadvantaged
business enterprises (DBEs) get at least a minor percentage of the work
parceled out by the agencies each year.
15 U.S.C. § 637 explains what factors the government will use in determining
whether a business qualifies as a “socially and economically disadvantaged
small business concern” for DBE, MBE or WBE. Since the point is
to help businesses whose owners have traditionally been shut out of government
contracts, obviously one of the factors is the “ownership and control”
of the company.
To qualify, a business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by:
- “Socially and economically disadvantage individuals;”
- “an economically disadvantaged Indian tribe” or a business
it wholly owns; or,
- “an economically disadvantaged native Hawaiian organization.”
15 U.S.C. § 637(a)(4)(A)(i)(1).
Identifying DBW, MBE or WBE Fraud
Some companies who want government work have decided to take an end run
around the program, by faking who owns the company. The fraud runs along
two distinct lines, but the outcome is always the same. Some companies
get the contracts for themselves by pretending that a particular person
owns the company – although that person in fact is not a 51% owner.
Other businesses use a more indirect path to the fraud. These businesses
set up fake companies that really are owned by people who might qualify,
but the smaller companies are not actually performing the work; it all
passes through to the bigger company that set up the fraud.
Find out how
you can be a whistleblower who helps stop companies from pretending they are owned by minorities,
women or disadvantaged people or businesses. A past President of the Georgia
Association for Women Lawyers, Attorney Lee Wallace graduated first in
her class from Vanderbilt University. She has been named one of Georgia’s
Super Lawyers®, Top 100 Lawyers, Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and Top 50 Women Lawyers. She
only represents whistleblowers like you, not the companies sued under
the False Claims Act.
Examples of DBE Fraud Whistleblower Cases
* In 2013, several Ohio-based companies and their owners agreed to pay
the Government $2,883,947 to resolve allegations that they had faked the
ownership of a disadvantaged business enterprise (“DBE”) to
get federally-funded transportation projects. According to a DOJ press release,
Testech and Ceso Agree to Pay $2.88 Million to Resolve False Claims Act
Allegations, the companies faked the DBE status of Testech, a civil engineering firm.
TesTech supposedly was a DBE owned by Sherif Aziz, but a whistleblower,
Ryan Parker, reported that the company in fact was owned and controlled
by CESO, a large, Dayton-based company handling federal transportation
projects in five states. In its press release, DOJ said that the defendants
had “falsely claimed that TesTech was owned by Aziz and qualified
as a minority-owned business in order to take advantage of the DBE program.”
Parker filed suit under the False Claims Act. As a relator (commonly known
as a whistleblower), Parker received $562,370 of the $2.88 million that
the government collected.
Consult an Experienced Atlanta Whistleblower Lawyer for FREE
Talk to us about whether you can blow the whistle on companies faking their
ownership in order to snatch contracts from real DBEs, MBEs and WBEs.
Whistleblowers have the satisfaction of helping the government stop fraud,
and they are entitled to 15% to 30% of what the Government recovers from
the cheating company.
calling (888) 581-9132 to talk to our team.