MEDIA ALERT: SCOTUS to hear whistleblower fraud case on March 19
Media Contact: Kristen Day
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a whistleblower’s argument on March 19 that defense contractors who allegedly stole $10 million from taxpayers in Iraq in 2006 can be held accountable under the False Claims Act.
“This case is critical to empowering whistleblowers and ensuring that stolen taxpayer dollars are recovered,” said Juris Day attorney Trey Mayfield, whose firm is representing whistleblower Billy Hunt. “Congress intentionally strengthened the False Claims Act in 1986 to fight fraud committed by government contractors. This case presents the Supreme Court with the opportunity to say that Congress meant what it said.”
Hunt has accused defense contractors Cochise Consultancy, Inc. and The Parsons Corporation of illegally overbilling the U.S. government. According to Hunt, the companies defrauded the government by giving Cochise a subcontract that it couldn’t perform and then overcharging on it.
“I managed a contract in Iraq for Parsons that was supposed to protect our troops from harm,” said Hunt. “Instead, Cochise and Parsons used government dollars for bribes and kickbacks to give the work to a company that couldn’t even do the job.”
Mayfield said the Supreme Court is being asked to provide important clarity on the False Claims Act, a 150-year old federal law that allows whistleblowers to report wrongdoing and sue on the government’s behalf. “Congress created the False Claims Act to protect taxpayers, and Senator Chuck Grassley led the bipartisan effort to expand it in 1986. Companies that defraud the government should be held accountable under the precise language that Senator Grassley and his colleagues intended and with which the statute is written.”
Parsons and Cochise say that Hunt’s whistleblower claim was filed too late under the False Claims Act. Hunt’s co-counsel, Christopher Day, said that the Supreme Court should reject that argument and enforce the law. “Congress wrote this statute to ensure that private citizens can help the federal government protect taxpayers by stopping fraud. The Supreme Court’s opportunity here is to ensure that contractors can’t get away with breaking the law.”
The case is Cochise Consultancy, Inc. and The Parsons Corporation v. United States of America ex rel. Billy Joe Hunt. It will be argued on March 19 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.
About Juris Day
Juris Day, PLLC is a Washington D.C.-area law firm specializing in complex litigation, including constitutional law, appeals, and the False Claims Act. Their work has led to significant victories for taxpayers, including a multi-million dollar settlement in 2017 by military contractor Triple Canopy.