Sometimes good organizations, with good missions and many good people on board, do bad things. A notable example is when a charity or public service group falsifies information with respect to a federal grant or other government support. It can be hard to speak up against any large organization and it can be even harder in the case of a group you know does good work. Still, it is important — knowingly falsifying a federal grant application or violating its terms is wrong no matter how well-intentioned the ultimate mission. As a recent settlement reminds us, making false claims for federal grants, a type of federal grant fraud, is a violation of the False Claims Act and charitable organizations must, like any recipient, obey the terms of government grants and use the money in a responsible manner. As a law firm for federal grant fraud whistleblowers, we take these cases seriously and believe that ensuring accountability is an important form of protecting taxpayer money.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters Pays $1.6 Million to Settle False Claims Charges
On January 21, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued a press release announcing that Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (“BBBS”) agreed to pay $1.6 million to resolve allegations it made false claims relating to DOJ grants. BBBS is a national organization with some 300 affiliate agencies that help provide mentoring support to children across the country. BBBS has received millions of dollars in grant funds since 2004 from the DOJ in order to support programs for at-risk youths. These grants require that BBBS maintains sound accounting processes and uses financial management systems that comply with federal regulations/guidelines, principles aimed at ensuring grant funds are accounted for and directed toward appropriate purposes.