A former project manager at Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) has come forward as a whistleblower. As some in Wisconsin may already know, under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers are given a portion of any funds recovered as a result of a successful investigation. In this man’s case, he received somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.88 million.
According to the project manager’s testimony in a federal lawsuit against SAIC, the company was allegedly aggrandizing prices in a training program that was funded by grants. The training program was designed to teach those who are first responders how to stop and deal with terrorist attacks. From its initial proposal, SAIC was found to have been dishonest.
According to reports, SAIC paid the personnel teaching in the program much less than was originally proposed in order to get the grant. Then the company helped itself to any leftover funds. SAIC settled the claims for a reported $11.75 million.
As anyone in Wisconsin can guess, whistleblowers have always been a valuable source for rooting out fraud against the federal government and state governments. Until the False Claims Act and other whistleblower legislation was passed, it was difficult to get sources to come forward. Not only did people fear retaliation from their current employer, but were also afraid they would suffer stigma in their industry and would never be able to find gainful employment again. Even if that were to happen now, getting a portion of the recovered funds could at least keep a source afloat until they find other employment. It may not be a good idea to become a whistleblower without first knowing exactly what the rights and responsibilities are under the act.
Source: Ring Of Fire Radio, “Whistleblower Exposes The SAIC’s Inflation Of Prices On Training Program,” Krysta Loera, July 4, 2013