It's as true on the state and municipal levels as it is on the federal: when a company is overcharging, lying about or otherwise deceiving the government about its products or services, it is committing fraud. While fraud can happen in any business environment, fraud against the government most commonly occurs today in a few specific industries. Here's a look at those industries and how common fraud occurs in them:
- Health care industry: Perhaps the most prevalent occurrences of fraud against the government right now are happening in the health care sector. People who work in doctor's offices or hospitals see improper billing taking place. For example, if a person comes in to have procedure A done, but the office bills for procedure A plus procedure B, Medicare or Medicaid ends up paying for services that were not provided.
- Pharmaceutical industry: One of the other major fields you see fraud in now is the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical manufacturers now have very strict requirements on how they can and cannot market and promote their prescription drugs to the health care community. If drug companies require, or simply turn a blind eye, to their representatives marketing or promoting outside those strictures, then they are committing fraud. Due to that improper promotion or marketing, drug companies get more prescriptions and the federal government pays more money than it should be for the drugs.
- Defense industry: In defense contractor cases, a company is often hired to produce some good or to provide some service but then does not follow through, either by not providing the exact good or service contracted for, or by providing a lesser good or service. For example, instead of making a defense product out of steel, they make it out of aluminum. Or perhaps the government hires a private contractor to provide a service, like putting together a survey of a million citizens about a given topic. When that contractor only calls 400,000 people, pockets the money for the million and produces results that are skewed, they are not doing what they promised.
If you think your business may be guilty of defrauding the government in some way, you may wish to speak with an experienced attorney about the situation. Attorneys who specialize in this area will usually be able to analyze the specifics and help you know if you have a case worth pursuing. They will also help you understand your rights regarding privacy and confidentiality.
Article by Brian McCormick, Jr.