Fraud, Waste, & Abuse Investigations
Thousands of BP claims have been identified as potentially fraudulent by the Fraud, Waste & Abuse Department (FWA) of the Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program. While any claims program that aims to distribute billions of dollars will have some level of fraudulent activity, many claims initially identified as potentially “fraudulent” by the FWA Department are eventually deemed legitimate and paid. The challenge for claimants is to understand how to navigate a FWA investigation without jeopardizing their otherwise legitimate claim. If you are a CPA or pro se claimant (pro se means not represented by an attorney) and you received a FWA notice, now is the time to get a law firm involved.
While any category of claim may be subject to FWA scrutiny, subsistence and seafood compensation program filers have traditionally been the most frequently targeted. Recently though, an untold number of business economic loss (BEL) claims were flagged for FWA investigation. These claimants received a “Notice of FWA Investigation and Option to Withdraw” from the Claims Administration. It is unclear exactly what triggers investigation of a BEL claim, as no details are provided in the notice of investigation. Rather, the claimant is simply informed that the claim is suspect – with no further explanation – and the claimant is given the opportunity to withdraw the claim with prejudice (meaning it cannot be refiled).
In late 2015 the Claims Administrator issued Policy 489 Version 2, which, as indicated above, permits a claimant to withdraw a flagged claim, but only if the withdrawal is completed prior to an official denial of the claim by the Claims Administration on the basis of fraud. If a claimant has multiple claims, with one or more flagged for fraud, withdrawing the flagged claims will permit the non-flagged claims to proceed normally through the payment process.
Our law firm represents BEL claimants who have been wrongfully flagged by the FWA Department under Policy 489v2. To be clear, we do not represent actual fraudsters, as we are not criminal lawyers. We only represent those who have done nothing wrong and simply want their claims resolved in a fair and expeditious manner. Contact us today for help.