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Contractor and Subcontractor Liability in Qui Tam Litigation Under the False Claims Act Involving DBEsz

Whistleblower claims alleging that government contractors have improperly designated or used disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) can lead to substantial penalties under the False Claims Act.

Lynette Byrd

Attorney Lynette Byrd
DBEsz False Claims Act / Qui Tam Team Lead
Former DOJ Attorneyenvelope iconContact Lynette directly

Nick Oberheiden

Attorney Nick Oberheiden
DBEsz False Claims Act / Qui Tam Teamenvelope iconContact Nick directly

Kevin M. Sheridan

Kevin M. Sheridan
DBEsz False Claims Act / Qui Tam Team Consultant
Former FBI Special Agent

Wade McFaul

Wade McFaul
DBEsz False Claims Act / Qui Tam Team Consultant
Former HHS-OIG Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge

The False Claims Act (“FCA”) is a federal statute that offers a reward to ordinary citizens who report fraud committed by federal government contractors. Typically, the citizen (referred to as a “whistleblower” or “relator”) will allege that the contractor fraudulently received or retained federal money by submitting false claims or causing false claims to be submitted to the U.S. government.

False Claims Act Whistleblower Claims Involving DBE Subcontractor Fraud

Many whistleblower claims under the FCA involve alleged fraud related to the use of disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) as subcontractors. These claims typically relate to the DBE’s legitimacy (i.e. whether the entity qualifies for DBE status) and whether the DBE actually performed the requisite work under the general contractor’s federal contract. Similar allegations can arise at the state level as well.

4 Key Issues in FCA Whistleblower Cases Involving DBEs

When seeking to utilize DBEs, government contractors must comply with a multitude of regulations. DBEs must comply as well; and, if either party fails to comply, both can potentially face liability under the FCA and analogous state statutes. Some examples of these regulations are below.

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