The government heavily relies on contractors to carry out its various projects and services, but there are times when these contractors may overcharge the government.
It is important to be vigilant and spot signs of overbilling, as this can lead to a qui tam case, a mechanism that allows individuals to bring such fraudulent activities to light.
1. Inflated invoices
The initial indicator to be vigilant about involves inflated invoices. If you observe that your employer is billing the government above the true cost of goods or services rendered, consider this a warning sign. To illustrate, if a $100 item is being invoiced at $150, it should raise concerns.
2. Fictitious hours
Pay close attention to timesheets and employee work logs. If you discover that your employer is billing the government for hours not worked, it is a clear indication of overbilling. This may involve ghost employees, people charged but not contributing to the project.
3. Unnecessary expenses
Watch for extravagant expenditures that appear unrelated to the current project. If your employer is invoicing the government for extravagant dining, luxurious travel, or any expenses unrelated to the project’s legitimate needs, it should raise concerns. Government funds must be exclusively allocated to cover the genuine expenses of the project.
4. Subpar or defective work
If you notice that the work delivered to the government falls short of the promised quality or is defective, this could indicate overbilling. Substandard work may mean that your employer is not putting in the effort they claim to be, yet they are still billing for a full, satisfactory job.
By identifying these signs of overbilling, you can help ensure taxpayer dollars are wisely and efficiently used. In fiscal year 2022, False Claims Act judgments and settlements exceeded $2.2 billion.