Environmental Fraud

Environmental Fraud

The Whistleblower Advocates have used whistleblower incentive laws to combat environmental crimes in the past and represent wildlife and environmental fraud whistleblowers in Pennsylvania. Combatting criminal conduct related to environmental crimes including illicit fishing, forestry, and wildlife trafficking can be seen in laws like the False Claims Act, the Commodity Exchange Act, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Reward clauses are included in most major wildlife trafficking statutes, including the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act incentive law is discretionary, unlike the False Claims Act and comparable reward provisions.

What is Environmental Fraud?

FCA Violations And Environmental Fraud

While the FCA has typically been used to fight fraud in the healthcare and defense industries, the act is very flexible and can be used to fight fraud in any government-funded program. It includes things like incorrect price quotes and invoices, violations of contractual specifications and certifications, and violations of federal environmental laws, as well as other things. Environmental fraud has become more and more of a target for the FCA in the last decade. 

FCA Fraud can be used in a lot of ways, including the following most common ones:

  • Falsely claiming that the contracts were met.
  • Low quality of workmanship.
  • Violations of contractual, environmental rules that cost the government money.
  • Defrauding the government in the process of getting a job.
  • Environmental fines or penalties that the government doesn't have to pay.

Environmental Fraud After A Natural Disaster 

Environmental fraud can happen after a natural disaster, just like it can happen after someone does something bad (whether it's intentional or accidental). The federal government, through FEMA, hires private businesses to help the people in the affected areas get food, water, shelter, clothing, cleanup, and more. It also runs national insurance policies for people who live in areas that are prone to flooding. There isn't enough government oversight to stop people from making false claims to the federal government when there are big disasters, so people often try to get money from the government.

Examples of fraud that could happen after a natural disaster:

  • Receiving money from the government for services or goods that were not done or provided.
  • Receiving or giving kickbacks or other benefits when the government gives money.
  • receiving money from the government for things that were paid for by someone else
  • Inflating the prices of goods and services that are paid for by the government
  • Misclassifying expenses or falsifying records in order to get federal aid.
  • When bidding on government contracts, there may be collusion or price-fixing schemes.
  • It is not allowed to use federal funds for personal or non-qualified purposes.

Environmental fraud commonly concerns the cleanup of hazardous waste material at both federal and state facilities. In the last decade, ecological fraud has increasingly been a target of FCA enforcement. Few cases have applied the FCA against contractors that commit environmental fraud, yet there are many environmental contexts in which the FCA applies. The government estimates spending more than $500 billion for ecological cleanups over the next fifty years. 

While the FCA has traditionally been used to combat healthcare and defense industry fraud, claims are highly flexible and allow for whistleblower complaints involving any government-funded program. It covers a range of activities from inaccurate price quotes and invoices, breaches of contractual specifications and certifications, and violations of federal environmental laws. 

The FCA can be used to prosecute federal contractors associated with the Department of Defense (“DOD”), Department of Energy (“DOE”), the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”), and others. 

In theory, FCA liability can be established by a contractor's failure to comply with the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, or other environmental laws that lead to financial harm to the government. Similarly, FCA claims may arise from violations of other ecological laws where contractors had contractually agreed to obey them. In addition, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires that contracts over $100,000 must contain a “Clean Water and Clean Air Certification.”

Consumer and Environmental Protection

The lab performs several tests, including soil analysis, water testing, air sampling, and chemical analysis of blood samples. The results show that the site has high lead levels, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium, but the lab finds no evidence of any illegal activity. The owner pays the lab a fee for each test performed. 

The owner later learns that the lab charged him more than the actual cost of performing the tests. The owner sued the lab under the False Claims Act because the lab failed to disclose that it was charging him more than the actual costs of performing the tests.

In another example, a contractor is hired to install new plumbing at a school. The contractor replaced old pipes with newer ones made of PVC piping. The contractor fails to notify the school district that the new lines are more susceptible to corrosion than the original pipes. As a result, the school district suffers millions of dollars in damages. 

What To Do If You Have A Potential Environmental Fraud Whistleblower Case?

If you suspect someone may be engaged in environmental fraud, contact The Whistleblower Advocates immediately for a free consultation. The Whistleblower Advocates will give you a free case evaluation to see if they can help you uncover fraudulent activity while keeping your potential case safe and confidential. The Whistleblower Advocates also offer free consultations for Environmental Fraud cases and all other types of whistleblower lawsuits - so call now! For more information, you can contact The Whistleblower Advocates.

The Whistleblower Advocates - Philadelphia Office

123 S Broad St #1670-B
Philadelphia, PA 19109

Phone: (833) 310-3147

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We serve clients throughout the Delaware Valley including, but not limited to, those in the following localities: Pennsylvania including Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia.

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