Wasteful government spending has been a problem for many years, and it will probably always be an issue. Whether it is the bridge to nowhere or spending $175 million a year so a federal agency can maintain buildings it doesn’t use, including a pink, octagonal monkey house, one does not have to look far for examples of government waste. However, citizens should be concerned with the amount of government fraud.
In 2010 and 2011, the Department of Justice recovered over $3 billion dollars through cases filed under the False Claims Act, and, it does not appear that False Claims Act cases will be slowing down in 2012. Just this week the Chicago Tribune reported about a federal criminal investigation into how the Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA) of Cook County has fraudulently spent government money and performed dangerous and substandard work.
From 2007 to 2009, CEDA received more than $500 million from taxpayers with $91 million coming from stimulus funds. CEDA was to weatherize low-income homes. However, what government audits and the Tribune report uncovered was quite different.
An audit by the Department of Energy revealed that the Illinois weatherization program was in peril because of “substandard performance in weatherization workmanship, initial home assessments, and contractor billing.” There were numerous examples of poor work and wasteful spending. For example, an assessor ordered attic insulation even though sizeable leaks in the roof would have rendered such an improvement ineffective. Moreover, several CEDA contractors have been sued in state and federal for shoddy work, defaulting on loans, and refusing to pay employees and subcontractors.
CEDA has relieved or suspended some higher ups while the DOJ investigation continues.
Whistleblowers help shine a light on potential government fraud. If you think you know of such a matter, please give us a call at 312-372-1227.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is a leading Illinois injury law firm with offices in Chicago and Waukegan. In addition to representing clients in catastrophic personal injury, medical malpractice and product liability cases, the firm focuses on car and truck accidents and other practice areas. The firm has obtained more than $1 billion on behalf of its clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including 250 multi-million dollar verdicts or settlements. For more information, call 312-361-1823 or use the firm’s online contact form.