The US Department of Justice has introduced a new inter-agency taskforce to combat
antitrust violations in public procurement. The new program will specifically target procurement collusion in major US cities. The participating agencies include the FBI, Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the US Postal Service and the General Services Administration.
The agencies’ goal is to “deter, detect and prosecute antitrust crimes” that arise from government procurement. According to the DOJ, the program will ensure that taxpayers receive the full benefits of competitive bidding.
The program is a follow-on to increased enforcement efforts by the DOJ to identify and eliminate public corruption. The DOJ announced the program as a warning to contractors to evaluate their antitrust compliance programs. The DOJ recently issued new compliance policy guidelines aimed at reducing anticompetitive bidding practices.
The Deputy Assistant Attorney General recently addressed the American Bar Association’s 2019 Public Procurement Symposium. In that address, he noted an apparent increase in corruption and fraud in public purchasing. He also stated that the Antitrust Division will coordinate with other agencies to “prosecute conduct that deprives the government – and in turn, the taxpayers – of the benefits of fair competition.”
According to the DOJ, public purchasers are more vulnerable to anticompetitive bidding because of the size of government purchases, and the low number of service providers. Further, monitoring of government contractors is difficult, and certain circumstances – like disasters – impact the immediate need for services and diminish competition. Currently, the DOJ has about 100 open antitrust cases. About one-third of these involve public procurement.
Federal Criminal Antitrust Attorney
When you face criminal antitrust charges, hire an experienced federal criminal antitrust attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 35 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes federal criminal cases in any circuit in the United States. He also takes state-level defense cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.
Federal cases require experienced federal defense counsel. US attorneys are well funded and aggressive. They measure their success on convictions, so they’re not likely to take cases they don’t think they can win.
Your legal counsel must have a firm understanding of the law, and the case against you. In addition, your attorney must know how to deal with overzealous federal prosecutors. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your only option is to take a guilty plea!
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