Many federal investigations begin with a complaint from a concerned employee or citizen; a whistleblower. From a story in today’s Miami Herald, it appears two whistleblowers are behind the federal investigation of Carlisle Development Group and its CEO, Matthew Greer. Until now, both the company and Greer had spotless reputations.
Press reports say the feds are investigating whether Greer and his company bilked a HUD program designed to subsidize affordable housing programs. Details of the investigation are sketchy as no charges have yet been filed. Greer appears to have many supporters in the community and several expressed shock that he would even be under investigation.
Like most stories, however, there appears to be a dark side to Carlisle’s dealings with federal subsidy programs.
The Miami Herald claims that in 2011, two former Carlisle executives became whistleblowers and began cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The paper says the company’s former Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer have struck “deals” with the FBI, IRS and Justice Department. They say that Carlisle padded construction cost of low income housing units in order to generate higher tax credits.
An investigation does not mean that any laws were broken. Although a criminal grand jury has been empaneled to hear evidence, no charges have been filed.
Like many federal investigations, whistleblowers are often critical in the government’s war on corruption and fraud. The press stories are focused on the criminal investigation. It is unknown if a companion false claims act case has been filed.
We suspect one has been filed. Because whistleblower complaints brought under the federal false claims act are filed “under seal,” they remain secret until a judge orders them made public.
The federal false claims act – often called the “Lincoln law” after President Abraham Lincoln – allows whistleblowers to receive a percentage of any monies collected by the government involving fraud against taxpayers or government funded programs. A low income tax credit program would certainly qualify.
To become a whistleblower, a person needs nonpublic, “inside” information about a fraud involving public funds. The percentage paid to whistleblowers is usually between 20 to 25% of what is collected although that number can vary significantly. Even if a person was involved in the scheme they may still qualify if they come forward and come clean.
Whistleblowers are the new American heroes. They save taxpayers billions of dollars per year. Depending on the fraud, they may also save lives and insure that persons truly in need receive vital services. Although everyone concedes that Carlisle has contributed significantly to the inventory of affordable housing in South Florida, if the allegations are true, the company has taken funds that could have been spent to provide even more housing opportunities.
Many people think that ripping off the government is a victimless crime, however, everyone suffers when taxes go up and services decrease.
If you wish to become a whistleblower or simply want to know if you have a claim, give us a call. Our false claims lawyers represent whistleblowers in a wide variety of cases. For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (direct). All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept in strict confidence.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Portland, Maine and San Francisco, California. Services available in many jurisdictions.
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