When I was the Procurement Fraud Remedies Director for the Air Force I wrote a number of articles about the need for contractors to engage early with the government when facing procurement fraud allegations. My time back in private practice has caused me to “double down” on that sentiment. We’ve defended a number of individuals and companies facing procurement fraud allegations over the last two years. When we are engaged immediately, we are generally able to craft strategic outreach efforts for the multiple stakeholders in the various proceedings and address their needs proactively. This has generally decreased the time clients spent “at risk” in these proceedings and kept defense costs down. For clients who engage lawyers later in the process, counsel has to correct mistaken government impressions caused by months (or, sometimes, years) of investigation and inquiry and overcome the inertia of an investigation already well underway. That, invariably, is a more time consuming and expensive task.
Obviously, every investigation and defense is different, and early engagement is not appropriate in every case. But contractors and grant recipients should give meaningful consideration to the benefits of early engagement.