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Understanding the common forms of government fraud

You might suspect that someone in your company is committing a form of wrongdoing, but you either lack the proof or you fear that reporting it may come back to you in the form of retribution. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon fear for those working in government positions. Government fraud is also common, ranging from untruthful benefits recipients to employees or managers defrauding the entities they work for. Your connection to government work in Georgia makes it important to understand the different types of fraud that can cost the government - and consumers - billions of dollars.

Government fraud is largely financially-driven. For example, health care practitioners might receive additional compensation by providing false or misleading information on their claims forms, or ordinary consumers may be dishonest in filling out applications or reporting changes in their income to receive government benefits. Some of the types of government fraud you might witness can include the following:

  • Medicaid and Medicare fraud - false claims by recipients, health care practitioners overcharging for services or prescriptions
  • Health care, hospital and pharmaceutical fraud - practitioners overcharging or charging for services not rendered, charging for patients who do not exist, charging for a service that was medically unnecessary, charging for an expensive prescription when the drug was a generic version
  • Financial industry fraud - money laundering, false or fraudulent mortgage claims through the Federal Housing Administration, false certification of eligibility for government funding, failing to follow funding regulations
  • Construction fraud - providing substandard materials and workmanship, falsifying documents and progress reports, not following contract regulations, accepting bribes or illegal kickbacks
  • Energy fraud - falsifying research data or other information for grant purposes, defrauding the government of gas and oil royalties, using grant money for personal reasons

The financial damage of government fraud often passes down to consumers in the form of higher health care and energy costs. Government whistleblower laws should protect you from retaliation, although many who have previously reported fraud claim their employers have threatened them. For this reason, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney if you know that fraud is going on at your workplace.

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