Federal and state Governments spend billions of dollars each year for the purchase, development, management and transportation of energy resources. The Federal government also spends hundreds of billions of dollars in research grants and other incentives for the development of new and renewable energy resources, including the development of wind, solar, biofuel, ethanol, clean coal and othezr forms of alternative energy sources. In addition to billions in energy spending, the federal government earns billions of dollars in royalties for permitting private firms to explore for oil and gas reserves on federal government land and waters.

Oil, Gas and Coal Royalty Fraud: Private oil, gas and coal companies pay the federal government royalties for the opportunity to explore on government owned land or water. According to the United States Minerals Management Service, the federal government was projected to receive over $9.7 billion in royalty revenues from oil, gas and coal exploration. One common type of fraud has been for major oil and gas firms to defraud the government out of the full amount of royalties the government is owed through various schemes that manipulate the formulas used to calculate royalty payments. For example, major oil and gas companies have already paid approximately $500 million to settle qui tam false claims act lawsuits involving allegations of royalty fraud.

Energy Contracting/Services Fraud: The United States Department of Energy manages much of the federal government’s energy resources, including the nation’s nuclear materials stockpiles. In many cases, the government contracts with private companies to either manage or service these energy resources. One area of fraud has been in the reporting and charging of costs and time on these highly lucrative, and in some cases billion-dollar government contracts.

Research Grant Fraud: The Federal Government spends millions of dollars each year in grants that support the development of new and renewable energy resources and recycling technologies. Some of the common forms of research grant fraud include: falsifying a grant application in order to secure a grant; falsifying research data and results; over-billing time, costs and other expenses associated with the grant; falsifying purchase orders for equipment and materials; using grant money for other unrelated research; using grant money for personal expenses; and improper conflicts of interest by the principal investigators. Attorneys in the global qui tam whistleblower practice of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti successfully represented the lead whistleblower in one of the largest qui tam false claims act cases alleging research grant fraud involving recycling technologies, United States ex rel. Eastmond v. Vortec Corp., (E.D.Pa.), which resulted in a recovery of $4.5 million for federal taxpayers.

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