Another court has joined the growing chorus of judges who are singing the same tune on set-aside fraud: when a government contractor lies about its eligibility for a set-aside contract, it violates the False Claims Act, and can be sued by either the Department of Justice or a whistleblower.
The new case is United States ex rel. Montes v. Main Building Maintenance Inc., and the decision was issued on December 22, 2020, by Judge Jason Pulliam of the Western District of Texas.
This is a qui tam case brought under the False Claims Act by a whistleblower, or “relator” as it’s called under that statute. The relator alleges that two parents, Robert and Elvira Ximenes, created a company, JXM, to bid on government contracts reserved (or, in technical terms, “set aside”) for contractors that qualified for the so-called “8(a) Business Development program” for small businesses that are owned by “socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities.”
To qualify for such set-aside contracts, the business must first be “certified” as eligible by the Small Business Administration (SBA). And to be eligible for such certification, the business must make a series of representation to SBA about who both owns the business, and who controls the business.
Keep reading this article at: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/federal-judge-texas-rules-lying-about-eligibility-8a-business-development-program