Five Gardena, California, companies have agreed to settle allegations, to the tune of $5.8 million, that they violated the False Claims Act (FCA). En Pointe Gov. Inc., En Pointe Technologies Inc., En Pointe Technologies Sales Inc., Dominguez East Holdings LLC, and Din Global Corp. were charged with misrepresenting that they were small businesses in order to gain special contracts limited to small businesses from 2011 to 2014.
About 23 percent of federal agency contracts are set aside for small businesses. Competition for the contracts is keen, and eligibility conditions for the contracts are fairly detailed. Allegedly, the group of five businesses was represented as meeting all the requirements needed to do the work under the Small Business Administration (SBA) guidelines when they did not, in fact, meet them.
It was discovered that the group of businesses was “integrated,” meaning they did not meet the criteria for small business contracts with the government. U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Eileen Decker had this to say: “Small businesses, in some cases, are eligible to receive a preference when government contracts are issued. Large companies that fraudulently solicit and obtain contracts under small business set-aside programs, like the companies in this case, not only abuse the system but also harm legitimate small businesses by taking those contracts away from them.”
En Pointe Gov. Inc. was also alleged to have underreported sales that occurred from 2008 to 2015 under a General Services Administration (GSA) contract, in order to avoid fees. The contract’s terms stated that En Pointe was supposed to return a certain percentage of its sales receipts to the GSA. By underreporting sales, the company could also underpay the fees that they owed the GSA.
The suit originated with a whistleblower. Minburn Technology Group, LLC, of Virginia, and Anthony Colangelo, the managing member of Minburn, brought the suit under the qui tam provisions of the FCA. The FCA enabled the government to intervene and take over the case, which they did in this instance.
Approximately $1.4 million was awarded to Minburn and Colangelo, or about 24 percent of the settlement.
Three of the companies involved in the settlement have changed their names. En Pointe Gov. Inc. is now called Modern Gov IT Inc. En Pointe Technologies Sales Inc. is now named Collab9 Inc. En Pointe Technologies Inc. is now called Dinco Inc.
Making a difference.
If you think you have the facts needed to bring a whistleblower case, including cases involving IT fraud, the experienced whistleblower attorneys at the Louthian Law Firm can review your case and help you file the appropriate disclosure statement. Under some circumstances, the government will intervene, or join in your lawsuit.
Your chances of succeeding are greater if your whistleblower claim is substantive, clear, and to the point. Because of this, meeting with a qualified whistleblower attorney can increase your chances of winning. The Louthian Law Firm can help you form your claim so that the government will be more inclined to intervene in your case; government intervention can sometimes increase the chances of recovering reward money. Even if the government decides not to intervene, it could still be a good idea to pursue your case without government involvement. Our strong support system can assist you through every step of the process.
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