How Contractors Can Reduce Antitrust Risk Amid COVID-19
The ongoing pandemic has profoundly impacted government procurement for specific goods and services to protect against the spread of the virus. As federal, state and local agencies scramble to stockpile needed equipment, there is an increased risk of antitrust crimes such as bid-rigging conspiracies and related fraudulent schemes that undermine competition in government procurement, grant and program funding.
To answer this increased risk, the government has continued to develop and expand the procurement collusion strike force, a critical watchdog for bid rigging and fraudulent practices that was launched in November 2019. Since its launch, the strike force, whose mission is to "deter, detect and prosecute antitrust crimes and related schemes in government procurements," has generated an overwhelmingly positive response from key stakeholders in the procurement space as well as international interest.
Companies involved in government contracts should take a closer look at their compliance and internal controls processes to avoid running afoul of the government's increased scrutiny of contracts involving government funding, especially since the DOJ will now consider and allow crediting of corporate compliance programs at the charging stage.
This is an extract from Law360, first published July 29, 2020. The whole publication is available at https://www.law360.com/articles/1296448/how-contractors-can-reduce-antitrust-risk-amid-covid-19
"The arrival of COVID-19 brings with it a sudden need for specific goods and services provided by the various levels of government to protect against the spread of the virus.
Many federal, state and local agencies have been forced to move quickly, which increases the risk of antitrust crimes such as bid-rigging conspiracies and related fraudulent schemes that undermine competition in government procurement, grant and program funding."
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