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On April 21, 2021, the Department of Justice (DOJ) inked its second civil settlement resolving allegations of fraud involving loans issued pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Sandeep S. Walia, M.D., a Professional Medical Corporation (Walia PMC), and its owner, Dr. Walia, agreed to pay $70,000 in damages and penalties to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act (FCA) tied to allegations that Dr. Walia falsely certified in a second PPP loan application that his medical practice had not previously received a PPP loan after it had already received one from a different lender.  Walia PMC also agreed to repay the second PPP loan for $430,000.  This latest settlement is a continued reflection of the heightened scrutiny of the PPP, and suggests that the FCA may quickly become a favored enforcement tool by the government in its continued pursuit of PPP-related fraud.
Continue Reading Avoiding Loan Forgiveness Is No Shield from False Claims Act Liability in Latest Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Settlement

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has added emergency loans for small businesses to its list of government programs vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. On March 2, 2021, GAO released its latest High Risk List identifying troubled federal government programs in need of significant improvement. The GAO concluded that the Small Business Administration (SBA) must demonstrate more robust integrity controls and better management practices over the PPP and EIDL programs. GAO’s findings put pressure on the SBA to ensure quicker adoption of GAO’s recommendations for improvements and keeps public focus on the need for SBA audits and investigations of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program participants.
Continue Reading GAO’s High Risk List Puts Spotlight on Emergency Loans For Small Businesses, Reinforcing Audit and Investigation Risk for PPP and EIDL Program Participants

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This week’s episode covers the new Supply Chain Executive Order, a False Claims Act settlement involving small business matters, and waiver of a GSA Schedule solicitation requirement, and is hosted by partner Peter Eyre. Crowell & Moring’s “Fastest 5 Minutes” is a biweekly podcast that provides a brief summary of significant government contracts legal and

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This week’s episode covers suspension and debarment, False Claims Act developments, and oversight relating to the pandemic response, and is hosted by partner Peter Eyre and associate Gabby Trujillo. Crowell & Moring’s “Fastest 5 Minutes” is a biweekly podcast that provides a brief summary of significant government contracts legal and regulatory developments that no government

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This week’s episode covers a False Claims Act update from DOJ, DOD COVID-19 vaccination plan of interest to contractors, final rule on LPTA, a Commerce final rule on information and communications technology or services, and range of executive orders issued by President Biden, and is hosted by partner Peter Eyre and associate Rina Gashaw. Crowell

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In this episode, hosts Jacinta Alves and Mana Lombardo discuss DOJ FCA investigations and common mistakes that targets make in defending these investigations with partner Michael Shaheen. “Let’s Talk FCA” is Crowell & Moring’s podcast covering the latest developments with the False Claims Act.

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In a per curiam, unpublished decision in In re Fluor Intercontinental, Inc., issued on March 25, 2020, the Fourth Circuit has provided some valuable guidance concerning how companies may avoid waivers of the attorney-client privilege when making disclosures to the government after privileged internal investigations. While the decision is non-precedential even within the Fourth

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Crowell & Moring’s 35th annual Ounce of Prevention Seminar (OOPS) is just around the corner, taking place on May 7 and 8 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington. At this year’s seminar, “The Challenging Climb to Reach New Heights,” the Government Contracts Group will provide updates and insight in a variety of areas, including ethics

This week’s episode covers government shutdown, trafficking in persons policy, and False Claims Act news, and is hosted by partner David Robbins. Crowell & Moring’s “Fastest 5 Minutes” is a biweekly podcast that provides a brief summary of significant government contracts legal and regulatory developments that no government contracts lawyer or executive should be without.

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On January 26, 2017, the Fourth Circuit heard oral argument in United States ex rel. Omar Badr v. Triple Canopy, one of four False Claims Act decisions that the Supreme Court vacated and remanded for further consideration in light of the Court’s June 2016 holding regarding the implied certification theory in Universal Health Servs. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, 136 S. Ct. 1989 (2016).  In Triple Canopy, the relator alleges that a security contractor responsible for ensuring the safety of an air base in a combat zone knowingly employed guards who allegedly falsified marksmanship scores, and presented claims to the government for payment for those unqualified guards. The defendant prevailed on a motion to dismiss at the district court after demonstrating that the government failed to plead that it ever reviewed — and therefore ever relied on — the allegedly false scorecards. United States ex rel. Badr v. Triple Canopy, Inc., 950 F. Supp. 2d 888 (E.D. Va. 2013). The Fourth Circuit reversed, explaining: “Common sense strongly suggests that the Government’s decision to pay a contractor for providing base security in an active combat zone would be influenced by knowledge that the guards could not, for lack of a better term, shoot straight … If Triple Canopy believed that the marksmanship requirement was immaterial to the Government’s decision to pay, it was unlikely to orchestrate a scheme to falsify records on multiple occasions.” 775 F.3d 628, 637–38 (4th Cir. 2015).

Continue Reading The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight: Post-Escobar Application of the Materiality Standard in the Fourth Circuit