The press has been buzzing lately about lapses in Presidential security. An armed fence jumper walks right into the unlocked door of the White House and wanders around until being tackled. A man with three felony convictions is hired as an armed security guard at the CDC and gets on an elevator with Obama. How do whistleblowers fit into this topic?
Easy. Much of America’s security functions are privatized. Although the guards at the White House are uniformed Secret Service agents, many of our federal facilities and embassies are protected by contract workers. Private security guards. As we have seen from the Benghazi consulate attack and the CDC guard in the recent Obama incident, these security companies apparently don’t do any meaningful background checks.
The federal False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to receive a portion of whatever the government collects from those who recklessly or intentionally defraud the government. With security companies, failure to properly screen guards certainly seems reckless, especially when federal contracts require it.
We have also seen cases where guard companies have lied about hours and overtime and padded their bills. That is an intentional violation and subject to triple damages.
How do whistleblowers fit in? These folks are the new American heroes. They have inside information about fraud involving a government program and step forward to report the fraud. To collect an award, the whistleblower must file a lawsuit under seal in federal court. The suit – and the whistleblowers identities – remain secret while being investigated by the government. Ultimately, if the action is successful, whistleblowers can receive up to 30% of whatever the government gets. (The average award is closer to 20%.)
The CDC incident is outrageous. In the words of Congressman Jason Chaffetz, “You have a convicted felon within arm’s reach of the president, and they never did a background check. Words aren’t strong enough for the outrage I feel for the safety of the president and his family.”
The outrage on Capitol Hill and reported in the media was directed at Julia Pierson and the United States Secret Service. Our outrage is directed at the security companies that take our hard earned tax dollars and hire dangerous felons because they are too lazy to conduct background checks. Folks like you and I can’t fix everything that happens in Washington but ordinary citizens that become whistleblowers can fix problems with bad security contractors and vendors. The False Claims Act allows them to get paid too.
If you have information about fraud involving a government contract, call us. Your inquiry is kept in complete confidence. We have represented whistleblowers in some of the largest cases in the United States including several billion dollar cases. Large or small, we want to help you collect every dollar for which you are entitled and put a stop to fraud. For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct)