The effects of the 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti were devastating. Tens of thousands of people killed. Over 100, 000 buildings destroyed. In the days and weeks after the quake, famine and disease. Over a million people living on the streets. The United States was there to help, pledging $3.6 billion in relief efforts. Where has that money gone?
Good question. We have been asking about foreign aid money for quite some time. Now Congress is asking as well. Last year Congress passed the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act.
Some readers might think that corrupt Haitian politicians simply took some of the money for themselves. While that is possible, the Center for Economic and Policy Research claims that just 1.5% of contracts released by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has gone to Haitian companies. The bulk of the money went to American companies.
Did the USAID money going to US contractors get properly spent in Haiti? Haiti’s former ambassador to the US, citing the CEPR study, says no.
There are probably dozens of reasons why Haiti has failed so miserably in its rebuilding efforts. We think, however, that much of the American aid money went to line the pockets of U.S. contractors. Something we have found in other countries as well.
While the federal False Claims Act has helped the government reclaim billions of dollars annually in money misspent by contractors and vendors, most of those recoveries have involved mortgage and Medicare fraud. We believe there are dozens of whistleblower opportunities associated with USAID projects.
Whistleblower opportunities? Yes!
Recoveries under the False Claims Act last year allowed whistleblowers to receive $435,000,000.00 from the government. That is because the law allows a whistleblower to receive up to 30% of whatever the government collects from a wrongdoer. (The typical whistleblower award is usually between 15 and 20%.)
Even though U.S. contractors get the bulk of the USAID contracts, the workers with the best knowledge of the fraud are often overseas. Many folks outside the United States do not know of the whistleblower award monies available.
It isn’t just the False Claims Act that can be used to pay awards. If the company mismanaging USAID money is a public company and is paying bribes to foreign officials, there may be whistleblower award opportunities under the SEC’s whistleblower program and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
We have dedicated years of our time to the government and taxpayers in an effort to stamp out corruption and fraud. Our efforts have resulted in 3, billion dollar cases unsealed during the last couple years. We were represented one of the three whistleblowers that resulted in the $16.65 billion recovery against Bank of America, the largest civil settlement against a single defendant in the history of the United States.
Think you have inside information about a foreign aid fraud? We want to speak with you and help you eliminate fraud and earn an award. For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731. All inquiries kept in strict confidence.