Whistleblower Law Firm Urges Tipsters to Report Fraud Involving Hurricane Sandy Relief

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New York and New Jersey-based whistleblower law firm Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP urges whistleblowers to report fraud in connection with the large influx of federal funds for Hurricane Sandy relief. As per the firm’s whistleblower lawyers, whistleblowers can earn from 15% to 30% of the government’s recovery.

New York and New Jersey-based law firm Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP has issued a whistleblower alert to raise awareness about the potential for government fraud in connection with the federal disaster relief aid set aside for Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Katrina, which is considered the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history, is estimated to have caused up to $125 billion in damage*. The federal government picked up the majority of this tab in the form of immediate disaster recovery and long-term rebuilding projects**. Unfortunately, this massive payout of federal funding was accompanied by widespread fraud and abuse, the scope of which a New York Times article described as “breathtaking.” ***

Seven months ago, Hurricane Sandy caused widespread devastation to the Tri-State area. Federal funding of approximately $52 billion has been approved by Congress to aid in the recovery and rebuilding of the region****. The alert discusses how this influx of federal funding raises the potential for widespread government fraud.

"Fortunately, whistleblowers can assist the government in recovering relief funding paid out as a result of fraud by filing a whistleblower, or qui tam, lawsuit under the False Claims Act," according to the alert. Under the False Claims Act, the whistleblower can earn an award equaling 15-30% of the government’s recovery for stepping forward *****.

In a recent case related to Hurricane Katrina relief, a federal jury found an insurance company had violated the False Claims Act by falsely classifying wind damage as flood damage to shift liability from its policy to a federal relief fund ******. As noted in the alert, other examples of potential fraud could include:

  •     Receiving federal funding for goods or services that were not provided;
  •     Inflating the prices of goods or services paid for from federal funding;
  •     Misclassifying expenses or falsifying records to justify federal aid;
  •     Receiving federal funds for an expense that was paid for by another source;
  •     Collusion or price fixing schemes in connection with bidding on federal contracts;
  •     Using federal funds for personal or other non-qualifying uses; or
  •     Receiving or providing kick-backs or other benefits in awarding government funding.

"If Hurricane Katrina is any guide, whistleblowers should be on the lookout for fraud in connection with the large influx of federal disaster relief aid following Hurricane Sandy," suggests the alert.

Whistleblower lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act involve unique legal procedures and, according to federal law, cannot be filed without an attorney.

If you have knowledge of fraud involving federal, state or local funds paid out as part of Hurricane Sandy relief, contact a whistleblower attorney at the law firm of Levy Phillips & Konigsberg LLP at 212-605-6200, or toll free at 1-800-988-8005, for a free and confidential consultation.

  • katrina.noaa.gov/

** nytimes.com/2012/11/03/us/politics/first-federal-dollars-allotted-in-hurricane-sandys-aftermath.html
*** nytimes.com/2006/06/27/washington/27katrina.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
**** nytimes.com/2013/02/06/nyregion/first-part-of-hurricane-sandy-aid-is-to-be-released.html
***** justice.gov/civil/docs_forms/C-FRAUDS_FCA_Primer.pdf

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Jerome H. Block
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