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Article Quotes Aaron Silberman re Recent Attorney Arrest for Attempt to Sell Court-Sealed Information to Federal False Claims Act Defendant


RJO government contracts attorney Aaron Silberman, was quoted in the Federal Contracts Report (FCR) for February 21, 2017, in an article titled “’Shock Is the Word’ for Lawsuit Sale Bust, Attorneys Say” (107 FCR, 2/21/17). The article reports on federal agents’ arrest of a law firm attorney accused of trying to sell access to a sealed False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit to a potential defendant. Mr. Silberman described the incident as a symptom of larger problems with the FCA and opined that flaws in the statute make this type of misconduct possible. “This is obviously a very strange and unusual case, but it is a symptom of a greater infirmity of the FCA. … The liability defendants may suffer and the rewards whistleblowers and the Government may enjoy are in many cases highly disproportionate to the wrong.” The FCA is a watered-down fraud statute (no intent to defraud required, rank-and-file employee knowledge imputed to employer management, etc.) with draconian consequences (triple damages, high penalties regardless of actual damage caused, debarment, etc.). As a result, Mr. Silberman states in the article: “it is hardly surprising that, in many instances, people are tempted to act, and do act, in ways that do not serve the FCA’s purpose of deterring, detecting and remedying fraud against the government.” While Mr. Silberman had not seen actions like those alleged here, he mentioned other cases of abuses caused by the same problems with the FCA, such as those involving “lawyers breaching their ethical duties to their clients and government insiders breaching their job duties to report suspected fraud internally, both by blowing the whistle in attempts to get the relator’s bounty.” Article

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