Bribery & Bid-Rigging

What is Bribery and What is Bid-Rigging?

Contractors can defraud the Government by obtaining contracts through bribery, i.e., the unlawful payment of money or other things of value in order to influence government officials in their official decision-making. Contractors can also defraud the Government by secretly colluding with other contractors to fix prices among the various bidders on contracts, or by dividing territories or otherwise limiting competition among contractors, thereby preventing the Government from obtaining competitive prices.

A qui tam whistleblower lawsuit may be brought against a contractor who engages in corrupt behavior to secure government contracts. Actions that may trigger False Claims Act liability include the illegal payment of money or other things of value to government officials or others who are involved in the award or negotiation of a contract. If a government contracting decision is improperly influenced by bribes or kickbacks, the contract might be considered invalid, and every invoice submitted under the contract might be considered a false claim.

Similarly, when contractors secretly agree to fix prices so that an agreed-upon contractor will win the bid for a government contract, they corrupt the contracting process and preclude the government from obtaining a competitive price. As with contracts obtained through bribery and kickbacks, or tainted by self-dealing, the bid-rigging scheme can render the resulting contract invalid, and every invoice submitted under the contract might be considered a violation of the False Claims Act.