A whistleblower who uncovered fraud at a government contractor tasked with investigating matters of national security was rewarded for his honesty this week when the U.S. Justice Department reached a settlement agreement with his former employer. Blake Percival was a manager at U.S. Investigation Services (USIS) when he discovered the former contractor was mishandling background checks for federal job applicants, including background probes on Edward Snowden and Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter.
Mr. Percival filed a whistleblower complaint in 2011 alleging USIS violated the False Claims Act by billing the government for work it never actually performed. It is estimated that the fraud affected more than 650,000 background checks, resulting in individuals receiving security clearances when they were not properly vetted. Beasley Allen attorney Larry Golston represented Mr. Percival in a four-year battle for justice. “Blake Percival is one of the most important whistleblowers in recent history,” Golston says. “We as a country are safer because of what he did.”
Under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, individuals may file lawsuits on behalf of the government when they witness fraud or wrongdoing. Whistleblowers may be rewarded with a percentage of any monies the government recovers as a result of their report. USIS settled with the Justice Department for $30 million.