The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced that it settled fraud claims against several moving companies that allegedly defrauded military families and government employees. The False Claims Act lawsuit alleged that the companies deceptively increased the weight of shipments and then submitted bills to the government for these fraudulently inflated weights. Coleman American Moving Services, Covan World Wide Moving, and other related affiliates, agreed to pay $5 million to settle the whistleblower lawsuit in this case.
Mario Figueroa and Elmer Figueroa, a father and son pair of whistleblowers, were employees of Covan World Wide Moving’s August, Georgia office, and initiated the investigation by hiring a whistleblower lawyer and filing a qui tam claim. The False Claims Act empowers the government to recover triple the damages it suffered and up to $11,000 per false claim. Whistleblowers who file qui tam claims are eligible to receive 15% to 30% of the eventual recovery, which can sometimes translate to significant compensation. In this case, the two whistleblowers will receive 25% of the settlement or $1.25 million, plus lawyer fees.
Hiring a whistleblower lawyer and reporting fraud against the government saves taxpayer money, holds wrongdoers accountable, and sends a message that society will not tolerate fraud. At The Cochran Firm, D.C., our whistleblower attorneys are dedicated to aggressively pursuing fraudulent health care companies, government contractors, financial services companies, and other criminals that defraud the government.
The fraudulent scheme in this case was very simple. If you work for a company that contracts for the military and you have documents and/or credible information substantiating your claims, you may be eligible to file a similar False Claims Act case. The whistleblowers, who worked in a warehouse, were told by supervisors to “get weights up.” They were allegedly told to falsify weight certificates that were used as the basis for bills for shipping costs associated with deploying U.S. service personnel domestically and abroad. In their whistleblower lawsuit, the Figueroas alleged that managers destroyed accurate weight certificates and replaced them with duplicate certificates that fraudulently increased the purported shipping weights. Rather than participate in the alleged fraudulent scheme, Mario and Elmer Figueroa hired a whistleblower lawyer and filed a False Claims Act claim, which will save taxpayers and the government millions of dollars.
Although we provide legal representation to whistleblowers, The Cochran Firm, D.C. did not represent the whistleblowers in this matter.