☷United States Files False Claims Act Lawsuit Against Maryland Contractor and Owner
U.S. Department of Justice ( By Press Release office)
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The United States has filed a lawsuit against government contractor Intelligent Fiscal Optimal Solutions LLC ( iFOS ) and its owner , Tawanda M . Smith , both of Columbia , Maryland , alleging that they violated the False Claims Act by submitting false invoices to the Department of Homeland Security ( DHS ) in connection with a contract for staff augmentation services awarded by DHS to iFOS . According to the United States’ complaint , iFOS and Smith coordinated with then DHS official Kenneth J . Buck , to steer a contract to iFOS . iFOS and Smith planned for Buck to enter into a subcontract with iFOS following his departure from DHS pursuant to which Buck would serve as the Strategic Advisor for the DHS contract , a role that would necessitate him communicating directly with his successor at DHS on behalf of iFOS . iFOS and Smith were allegedly aware of federal conflict - of - interest rules that limited Buck’s ability to communicate directly with DHS officials on behalf of iFOS during a mandatory “cooling off” period that applies to former government officials such as Buck , and they allegedly misled DHS contracting personnel by falsely representing that a different iFOS employee would serve as the Strategic Advisor and concealing their planned involvement of Buck . After the contract was awarded , iFOS and Smith allegedly submitted false invoices to DHS contracting personnel that concealed the extensive work performed by Buck on the contract , which allegedly included improper communications with his DHS successor that violated federal conflict - of - interest laws . The complaint further alleges that iFOS and Smith violated material contract requirements that mandated a background investigation be completed for all iFOS personnel , which Buck never completed . Earlier this month , Buck settled civil claims relating to his alleged role in the scheme . “The government’s conflict - of - interest rules protect the integrity of the government’s procurement process , ” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M . Boynton , head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division . “This lawsuit demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to pursue those who make false statements that undermine the government’s ability to enforce these important safeguards , or who otherwise misrepresent their compliance with critical contractual requirements . “The federal procurement system has strict policies to prevent corruption and contract manipulation , ” said U . S . Attorney Erek L . Barron for the District of Maryland . “These ethics and conflict of interest policies must be enforced to ensure that government contract awards are beyond reproach . In partnership with our investigative partners , our office will continue to hold accountable those who weaken the integrity of our procurement system . ”“I appreciate the continued partnership between DHS OIG and the Justice Department , which helps ensure the integrity of DHS programs , ” said Inspector General Joseph V . Cuffari of DHS Office of Inspector General ( OIG ) . “This lawsuit should serve as a deterrent to individuals intent on defrauding the government . ” The lawsuit is captioned United States v . Intelligent Fiscal Optimal Solutions LLC , et al . , No . 22 - CV No . 1:22 - cv - 01053 - JMC ( D . Md . ) , and is being handled by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch ( Fraud Section ) and the U . S . Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland . DHS OIG is investigating . Senior Trial Counsel Alicia J . Bentley of the Justice Department ' s Civil Division and Assistant U . S . Attorney Sarah Marquardt for the District of Maryland are handling the case . The claims asserted in the United States’ complaint are allegations only , and there has been no determination of liability .
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