The COVID-19 pandemic led to an unprecedented outlay of government funding, for everything from protective equipment to direct assistance for individuals and businesses. But whenever the government spends a large amount of money, fraudsters are sure to appear. Federal, state, and local government officials have prioritized enforcement efforts to make sure these funds go where they are intended.
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office recently announced that it had settled a lawsuit against Bedrock Group LLC, a company accused of committing COVID-19 fraud. In April 2020, the state had paid $3.6 million for an emergency order of N95 masks, which medical professionals desperately needed to ensure their safety and the safety of their patients. Bedrock allegedly failed to perform on its contract, delivering fewer than ten percent of the masks it promised to deliver—but the company pocketed the funds anyway.
Bedrock has now agreed to pay $3.5 million to resolve allegations that it defrauded Massachusetts and its taxpayers. According to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, “This company tried to take advantage of the state by holding onto millions of taxpayer dollars it owed for masks that it never delivered. The state relied on this order to provide life-saving masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. This settlement requires Bedrock to return the more than three million dollars it owes the state and to pay a significant penalty for its false statements.”
Many people are aware that the federal False Claims Act (FCA) permits whistleblowers to help the federal government recover money it fraudulently paid. But most states also have their own FCAs that permit whistleblowers to help recover state funds. As with the federal FCA, a whistleblower suing under a state FCA is generally entitled to receive 15% to 30% of the amount the government recovers in a successful enforcement action.
Although the Massachusetts settlement is a significant victory in the fight against COVID-19 fraud, it represents only the tip of the iceberg. Whistleblowers are essential in identifying and reporting fraud against the government. If you have evidence that a person or company is committing COVID-19 fraud, an experienced whistleblower attorney can help you file an effective complaint and maximize your share of any recovery.
With more than 30 years of experience, the attorneys on Baron & Budd’s whistleblower representation team have represented dozens of clients in government fraud cases returning over $5.4 billion to federal and state agencies, with whistleblower recovery shares as high as 49%. They are ready to help if you have evidence of fraud against the government.
Please call (866) 401-5971 or complete our contact form if you would like more information. For more information, see What You Need to Know About Becoming a Whistleblower. Please understand that contacting us does not mean that you have established an attorney-client relationship with Baron & Budd, P.C.