What is procurement fraud, and how can it ensnare a contractor?

“Tread carefully.”

Among other kernels of wisdom imparted to contractors working with the federal government in procurement matters, that admonition tops the list for things that contracting parties need to think about – and avoid – when doing business with public agencies.

The advice comes courtesy of an online overview of the procurement process, which expressly notes “many traps for the unsuspecting” that can lead to civil and criminal liability.

Consider this, as we do on our fraud-defense website at the Houston law firm of Hilder & Associates, P.C.: Reportedly, the U.S. federal government “enters into more contracts to purchase goods than any other entity in the world.”

Given that clout, it gets to set the terms and conditions for any contracting company wanting in on the action. And that is true whether a contract relates to military weapons production, the construction of government buildings, remedial work done following a natural disaster or something else.

Unsurprisingly, a party must effectively negotiate a number of hoops and hurdles that are collectively complex when seeking to profit from a government relationship. Many companies – even the most experienced government players – find the challenges formidable.

It is easy to make mistakes. Even good-faith commercial entities err when trying to comply with government dictates concerning process, supply, payment, timing requirements, subcontracting and a host of other imposed obligations.

We duly stress on our website that mistakes can be costly, especially when government actors allege procurement fraud. As stated above, that charge often catches contractors by surprise.

When it does, proven fraud-defense attorneys can play a key role in implementing a proactive and aggressive white collar defense to maximally mitigate the damages from a fraud accusation.

We welcome contacts to our firm from business principals across Texas who have questions or concerns regarding any aspect of government contracting.