BRAC Fraud Hotline Established to Report Procurement Fraud at Aberdeen Proving Ground
Baltimore, Maryland - A new fraud hotline, 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or firstname.lastname@example.org, has been established to report possible fraud related to federal contracts awarded in Maryland and Delaware under the Base Re-Alignment and Closure Act (BRAC) and other Department of Defense initiatives.
The new hotline was announced by Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Colonel Orlando Ortiz, Commander of the U.S. Army Garrison at Aberdeen Proving Ground; and United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely, the head of the FBI in Maryland and Delaware, stated “Increased spending on government contracts for national security and other government programs, which is evident here in large numbers and expansive projects, exponentially increases the potential for fraud. With that in mind, the FBI is committed to ensuring an increase in criminal enforcement of procurement fraud in all its forms. With our state, local and federal partners, it is our hope this law enforcement effort creates an environment where the community at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds can feel they can contact the new hotline to provide critical information to help us detect, prevent and investigate this type of fraud.”
SAC McFeely continued, “It is important the public be aware they can call with information and tips and in doing so, will be speaking with live law enforcement individuals during business hours. Fraud in all its forms in association with projects at the APG threatens national defense initiatives in a very real sense. I am encouraging the public to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or e-mail email@example.com with any information you may have to assist us in rooting out fraud.”
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will use both criminal and civil enforcement powers to prosecute procurement fraud schemes and pursue both prison sentences and financial penalties.”
Under BRAC, Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) will receive new tenant organizations representing five different Army commands which will expand and enhance APG’s current research and development, testing and evaluation, and operations missions. This growth will increase APG’s workforce to over 20,000 once the transformation is completed in 2012, and will require an additional 2.8 million square feet of space. Approximately $1 billion of the expected $2.2 billion in federal BRAC money has already been awarded to build new facilities and enhance current facilities and infrastructure to accommodate the growth in the Maryland installation.
In addition to the hotline, the FBI has set up a working group primarily composed of: the FBI; Army CID-Fraud; Defense Criminal Investigative Service; Maryland State Police; Harford County Sheriff’s Office; and other federal, state and local agencies. This working group will function like the National Procurement Fraud Task Force by focusing on defective pricing, product substitution, misuse of classified and procurement sensitive information, false claims, labor mischarging and accounting fraud, to root out those who would cheat the American taxpayer.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office believes that prosecution of defense contract fraud is enhanced by parallel prosecution of criminal and civil remedies. Coordination of joint criminal and civil investigations can ensure the most complete recovery for the government while at the same time punish fraudsters and deter future fraud. The Federal False Claims Act provides for recovery of treble damages and penalties and is a highly effective tool to combat contract fraud. Whistleblowers, or relators, who file qui tam actions under the False Claims Act can share in the government’s recovery. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also coordinates with suspension and debarment authorities to insure that those who commit fraud against the government are precluded from participating in future government contracts.
The National Procurement Fraud Task Force was formed in October 2006 to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity for national security and other government programs. The Procurement Fraud Task Force - chaired by Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer - includes the United States Attorneys’ Offices, the FBI, the U.S. Inspectors General community and a number of other federal law enforcement agencies.
To report suspicious or criminal activity associated with contracts awarded under BRAC, please call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.