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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

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In an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) published in the Federal Register on Monday, March 29, 2021, Commerce announced that it is soliciting public comment on a licensing process for companies seeking pre-clearance for information and communications technology and services (ICTS) transactions subject to Commerce’s broad new authority to block or unwind such transactions, as implemented in the interim final rule, “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain.” That interim final rule, which was published on January 19, 2021, became effective on Monday, March 22, 2021, and broadly defines transactions to include acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in or use of ICTS. We previously discussed that interim final rule here.
Continue Reading Commerce Publishes ANPRM Seeking Comment on the Licensing Process for ICTS Transactions

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As part of its annual Spring Update, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice touted the expansion and early success of its Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF), both in coordinating efforts among local, state, and federal enforcers and in leveraging the resources and skills of those stakeholders to identify potential antitrust violations in government procurements. The DOJ stood up the PCSF in late 2019 with a team of United States Attorneys’ offices from 13 districts and investigative and law enforcement agents from five partner agencies, including the FBI, the Department of Defense, the GSA, and the U.S. Postal Service; it now boasts 22 U.S. Attorneys’ offices, as well as new “like-minded” partners from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Department of Homeland Security OIG.
Continue Reading Antitrust Division Praises Early Success and Heralds New Endeavors for Procurement Collusion Strike Force

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On April 12, the DOJ and FTC issued a joint statement titled “Preserving Competition in the Defense Industry,” which reiterates the analytical framework for reviewing defense industry mergers and acquisitions set forth in the DOJ/FTC 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines, and emphasizes that the antitrust agencies will continue to give substantial weight to the

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Government contractors and their counsel must not only be aware of the requirements of the FAR and other applicable statutes and regulations, but also must be attuned to situations in which government contracting intersects with other areas of law. Government contracts lawyers are periodically called upon to provide counseling or represent clients in litigation involving