A quid pro quo, or something given or received for something else, is common in business. It is the equivalent of ‘you scratch my back and I will scratch yours.’ While there is generally nothing wrong with mutually beneficial business arrangements, a quid pro quo favor can amount to procurement fraud in certain instances.
Procurement fraud occurs when a favor, payment, or other advantage is dishonestly exchanged, causing loss to the government, public, or private stakeholders. A common procurement fraud scheme involves a procurement manager awarding a contract for goods or services to a certain vendor in exchange for some sort of benefit or personal gain for awarding the contract.
When a Quid Pro Quo Favor Amounts to Procurement Fraud
Quid pro quo arrangements may amount to procurement fraud based on a number of factors. For example, arrangements where a contract-awarded vendor is paid well above market price is common in procurement fraud scenarios. The artificially inflated contract price is the incentive for the vendor to give cash or other benefits to the procurement manager who awarded them the contract.
Procurement fraud scenarios often include decision-making managers who have personal ties to the vendor, vendor costs that are significantly inflated above market price, contract bids that are manipulated by the use of fictitious vendors, and cash payments of bribes or kickbacks.
When a quick pro quo favor involves any of the above elements, it is beyond a simple business arrangement and may rises to the level of criminal procurement fraud.
Investigating Allegations of Procurement Fraud
The government invests significant resources to investigate and prosecute cases of alleged fraud perpetrated against the government. The DOJ’s Federal Procurement Fraud Unit, formerly the “Defense Procurement Fraud Unit,” helps coordinate law enforcement resources in prosecuting procurement fraud cases. The Unit handles a variety of fraud cases affecting civilian procurement and cases involving the Department of Defense’s multi-billion dollar procurement contracts for equipment and services. Procurement fraud cases can involve product substitution, false testing, cost mischarging, defective pricing, and illegal kickbacks.
Fraud Defense Attorney
Alleged procurement fraud scenarios are aggressively investigated and prosecuted. If you are being investigated, or have been charged with procurement fraud, reach out to our firm today. Ashley D. Adams has significant experience defending clients accused of complex white collar crimes, including procurement fraud. She will work diligently to ensure that your rights are protected.