Going Green Doesn’t Always Mean Keeping Green – Renewable Energy Program False Claims Act Settlement
Various entities must pay $2.6 million to resolve False Claims Act (FCA) violations alleging the received reimbursements for programs and costs they did not incur. The False Claims Act allows private individuals (referred to as relators) to bring actions against entities who defraud the United States government and shares with the victorious a portion of the recovery which is known as a whistleblower award.
Congress’s well-intentioned Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 incentivized corporations to enable “renewable energy properties,” with government reimbursement up to 30% for certain projects. Where there is money available for a good thing, however, there are always people and companies ready to wear the badge of goodness and exploit it for their own economic gain.
The allegations of the United States are that a company known as Eagle Valley applied for the bio-friendly program for reimbursement for its investment in one of its non-green actual physical plants. The application indicated that Eagle Valley agreed with Evergreen to perform certain types of services. Evergreen was incentivized on a percentage basis for the cost of building the plant.
Without using the actual numbers to illustrate what occurred, assuming Eagle Valley put in for $10 million dollars of reimbursement from the federal government, Eagle Valley told the government that $3.3 million of those monies would go to Evergreen. The United States taxpayers through the federal government paid Eagle Valley, but Eagle Valley never paid Evergreen and Evergreen never sought payment. It is unclear what led to those circumstances, but what is clear is that after Eagle Valley received funds that were designated to go elsewhere, they were not entitled to keep those funds after the earmarked company was not paid and was not going to be paid.
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Former FBI Special Agent Jason T. Brown and head of Brown, LLC (a law firm that focuses on protecting whistleblowers ) indicated:
“Once again this was great work on behalf of the federal government holding those accountable who have allegedly ripped off the taxpayer. Every year there’s billions of dollars of fraud and through the False Claims Act whistleblowers can help the taxpayer recoup its losses while receiving a whistleblower award for their cooperation.”
Although this case was not handled by Brown, LLC, Mr. Brown’s whistleblower law firm remains active and vigilant in protections whistleblowers and prosecuting whistleblower lawsuits nationwide. The firm offers free whistleblower consultations by calling (877) 561-0000 or emailing fightfraud@jtblawgroup. Brown, LLC is a private firm and although it works cooperatively with the federal government, is not part of the federal government.