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Agustin D. Orozco is a partner in the Los Angeles office and is a member of the firm’s White Collar & Regulatory Enforcement and Government Contracts groups. As a former federal prosecutor, Agustin is a skilled trial lawyer focused on directing complex white collar cases and investigations, handling contentious and sophisticated pretrial litigation, and successfully proving highly difficult cases at trial. Agustin’s background as a federal prosecutor and government contracts attorney leaves him uniquely situated to help clients where government contracts and white collar intersect.

Agustin represents clients in criminal and civil government investigations and enforcement actions. He also represents and counsels clients on matters involving federal, state, and local government contracts. Agustin has litigated civil False Claims Act (FCA) matters and other government contracts issues, such as disputes, claims, and terminations. He is also experienced in matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), including conducting investigations abroad and counseling clients on compliance issues.

On June 23, 2022, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Army contractor Envistacom LLC and two of its executives alleging participation in a fraudulent scheme that deprived the federal government of competition and making false representations to the government in furtherance of the conspiracy. The indictment also charged the executive as a co-conspirator, and asserts the conspirators coordinated in the preparation of so-called “competitive quotes” submitted in connection with 8(a) set aside contracts. The quotes were allegedly fraudulently inflated in order to all but guarantee the government customer would sole source the award to the conspirators’ pre-determined bidder. This indictment represents the fruits of yet another investigation by the Department of Justice’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force (“PCSF”).

According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to prepare and secure “sham” pricing quotes from third-party companies that were intentionally higher than Envistacom’s proposals to ensure that the government issued sole source awards to Envistacom. Further, the defendants allegedly coordinated with an unnamed government employee who acted as a co-conspirator and assisted in preparing and submitting Independent Government Cost Estimates (“IGCE”) for certain set aside contracts to ensure that the pre-determined bidder’s proposal would be lower than the IGCEs. Finally, the indictment alleges that the defendants made “false statements, representations, and material omissions to federal government contracting officials” about the IGCEs being “legitimate” and the sham quotes being “competitive.”

Continue Reading Procurement Collusion Strike Force Nabs Another Military Contractor in Bid Rigging Scheme

On November 2, 2016, the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) issued a final rule amending the regulations that set forth the elements and procedures of the executive branch ethics program by defining and describing the executive branch ethics program, delineating the responsibilities of various stakeholders, and enumerating key executive branch ethics procedures.  The final rule

In this year’s set of legislative proposals forwarded to Capitol Hill, DoD and NASA have again requested changes to the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act (“PFCRA”) to create, in the government’s view, a more viable administrative remedy for fraud and false claims totaling less than $500,000.  The administrative process would proceed similarly to the suspension and debarment process with a fixed administrative record and an administrative decision official within each agency.  See proposed Section 805 in the Fifth Package of Legislative Proposals Sent to Congress for Inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.

PFCRA (Chapter 38 of Title 31, United States Code) was enacted in 1986 as a government wide administrative mechanism for combating small-dollar fraud.  As it stands, PFCRA allows federal executive branch agencies, with Department of Justice (“DoJ”) approval, to address false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims and statements where the alleged liability is less than $150,000.  At the time of its enactment, Congress considered PFCRA to be a remedy to DoJ’s declination to pursue criminal or civil penalties where the alleged fraudulent activity resulted in little to no financial loss to the government.  Since then, however, PFCRA has been viewed by some government agencies, including the DoD, as being cumbersome to the point of making it impractical for government agencies to pursue a remedy under the Act.  Indeed the purpose for the proposed amendments is to create an “effective” administrative remedy.

Continue Reading DoD And NASA Again Seek Changes to the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act