How to file a qui tam disaster relief lawsuit

The Cochran Firm, D.C. provides legal representation to individuals who blow the whistle on fraud against government-funded disaster relief programs.

Federal and state governments have a multitude of disaster relief programs designed to help citizens impacted by major disasters. Agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency help citizens whose lives are drastically affected by natural disasters and help clean up the damage.

The need to respond swiftly to those most desperately in need of helps make disaster and emergency response an easy target for perpetrators of fraud. Disaster relief agencies may award contracts to third parties without properly vetting them, allowing unscrupulous contractors to take advantage of the government and taxpayers.

The False Claims Act allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits on behalf of the federal government to help recover defrauded money. By filing a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit you may be rewarded anywhere from 15% to 30% of the money recovered, depending on the circumstances.

How does disaster relief fraud happen?

Disaster relief fraud can take a number of different forms and, unfortunately, fraudulent companies and individuals can be creative in how they design fraudulent schemes. What they all have in common is that they knowingly attempt to defraud the government out of taxpayer dollars. Here are a few of the most common forms of disaster relief fraud potential whistleblowers should be on the lookout for:

Contractor fraud

State and federal disaster relief agencies almost always turn to private companies to help facilitate the cleanup and relief efforts immediately after a natural disaster strikes. Unfortunately, these private companies may attempt to defraud the government by overcharging, underperforming, falsely inflating costs, or not providing contracted-for services.

Price gouging

Federal and state laws prohibit businesses from overcharging for goods and services during federal and state declared emergencies. Businesses who inflate their prices for goods and services provided to the federal government during declared disaster periods may be in violation of the False Claims Act.

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