8(a) Joint Venture Fraud Allegations Lead to False Claims Act Settlement

The SBA’s joint venture rules can be strict. Mistakes like failing to update a joint venture agreement, inserting ambiguous provisions in a joint venture agreement, or relying on an expired mentor-protege agreement can be costly.

Good faith mistakes are one thing–the joint venture may lose out on a contract, but probably won’t face other penalties. But when the government believes that a contractor knowingly violated the joint venture rules, the repercussions can be much more serious–as seen in a recent False Claims Act settlement involving allegations of fraud under the 8(a) joint venture regulations.

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Event: Service Contract Act & Davis-Bacon Act “101”

The Biden administration recently announced plans to increase enforcement of the federal prevailing wage laws for contractors–the Service Contract Act and Davis-Bacon Act. Non-compliance with these laws can be grounds for severe sanctions. (Heck, the DOJ just announced another False Claims Act settlement in a prevailing wage case yesterday!)

If you’re new to the world of prevailing wage laws, or just need a refresher, please join me on March 18 for an introductory “101” look at the SCA and DBA, hosted by the South-West Texas Border Small Business Development Center Network. It’s easy to register: just click here.

Hope to see you on the 18th!

Five Things You Should Know: the FAR’s Independent Pricing Certification

Small businesses will see several major multiple-award solicitations in 2021, including CIO-SP4 and Polaris. As contractors develop their capture strategies for important procurements like these, one frequently-asked question is, “can I be on multiple teams?”

While there is no simple one-size-fits-all, yes/no answer to the “multiple teams” question, an often-overlooked FAR provision provides some important guidance. Let’s take a look at five things you should know about the FAR’s Certificate of Independent Price Determination.

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Required Disclosures to the Government did not Waive Attorney Client Privilege, 4th Circuit Finds

Attorney-client privilege is a cornerstone of the American legal system. It protects conversations between an attorney and their client from disclosure during litigation. The goal of this protection is to allow an attorney to provide the best representation possible by protecting client communications from being later leveraged during litigation. Sometimes, however, invocation of attorney-client privilege protections can be complicated by required disclosures.

But federal contractors are required to notify the government about various circumstances that may impact their role as contractors. What if there is a conflict between mandatory government disclosures and attorney-client privilege? In a recent decision, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to determine whether certain mandatory disclosures under the FAR waived attorney client privilege.

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Unreasonable Cost Adjustment Leads to Sustained Protest

Of late the pages of this blog have been entirely coronavirus and COVID-19 obsessed—and for good reason. But that does not stop the Government Accountability Office from deciding bid protests.

With all that’s been going on, writing about a GAO decision regarding run-of-the-mill unreasonable cost realism evaluation is downright refreshing.

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SDVOSB Fraud: Indictment In “Secret Side Agreement” JV Case

SDVOSB fraud allegations, stemming from a “secret side agreement” between two joint venture partners, have resulted in a grand jury indictment against the companies and their owners.

According to a Department of Justice press release, an SDVOSB and non-SDVOSB executed a joint venture agreement that appeared to meet the SBA’s requirements, but later undermined the JV agreement with a secret agreement that provided that the non-SDVOSB would run the jobs–and receive 98% of the revenues.

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SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 17-21, 2016

It is KU’s homecoming weekend here in Lawrence.  I’m planning to catch KU’s homecoming parade with the family tonight, and then cheer KU onto football victory tomorrow against Oklahoma State (ok, that last part may be wishful thinking).

Of course, before we all head out to enjoy an autumn weekend, it’s time to get caught up on the latest in federal government contracting news.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, a former State Department employee will spend four years in prison for helping steer contracts to his son’s company, the IRS awards contracts to contractors owing back taxes, one commentator sounds a well-worn (and in my view, essentially incorrect) alarm about bid protests, and much more.

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