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Types of Whistleblower Cases

Whistleblowing Cases – GSA Fraud

The General Services Administration (GSA) is an independent agency of the United States government tasked with managing and supporting the basic functioning of federal agencies. The GSA supplies products for federal government offices, provides transportation and office space to federal employees, and creates government policies regarding cost reduction.

Additionally, the GSA maintains the “GSA Schedule.” The GSA Schedule is a computerized system that other federal agencies can use to buy goods and services from approved contractors. Vendors and contractors may only be included in the GSA Schedule if they meet all of the required legal obligations. Vendors and contractors that fail to comply with these requirements may be liable for fraud under the False Claims Act. Whistleblower cases against such vendors and contractors serve the public interest and can result in an award for a qui tam whistleblower

The most common schemes used in committing GSA fraud are:

Failure to Comply with the Trade Agreements Act

The Trade Agreements Act (TAA) requires that the United States government purchase certain products only if they are made in countries with whom the United States has trade agreements.  In order to be included on the GSA Schedule, suppliers must certify that they are compliant with the requirements of the TAA. Countries that are not TAA-compliant include China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand. If a GSA Schedule contractor sells goods made in these (or other non-compliant) countries to government agencies, they may be in violation of the TAA, and thus in violation of the False Claims Act.

Failure to Comply with “Best Pricing” Requirements for Government Contracts

Generally, contractors must give the U.S. government the “best price” that the contractor would give to any one of its other customers. A contractor must certify that it has offered a price to the government that is either equivalent to, or less than, the price it gives to other customers. A company’s failure to do so can constitute fraud under the False Claims Act.

Failure to Comply with Price Reduction Requirements

GSA contractors must also notify the government if the price used as a basis for GSA contract negotiations has been reduced for commercial customers. In that instance, the GSA contractor must give the federal government the same discount as was provided to the commercial customer. Failure to do so may result in False Claims Act liability.

If you have information that a GSA contractor has violated the Trade Agreements Act, or failed to comply with other GSA requirements, you may be able to blow the whistle by pursuing a qui tam lawsuit. Successful qui tam whistleblowers under the federal False Claims Act can receive an award of between 15% and 30% of the amount recovered.

Contact a Whistleblower Attorney

If you would like to report GSA fraud, and to find out more about the legal options available to you, contact the qui tam attorneys of Tycko & Zavareei LLP at 202-973-0900.