Protecting Whistleblowers & The Injured

Infrastructure fraud is not a victimless crime

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Whistleblower

The expansion of railroads across the United States helped create economic opportunities for those in western states. The railroad connected the country, allowing for rapid, direct travel between destinations separated by many states and mountain ranges. Since the golden age of the rails, affordable air travel and increased investment in highway infrastructure have both reduced the amount of demand on railroad companies.

Still, railway infrastructure remains a crucial component of domestic travel and manufacturing. Railways provide affordable and timely transportation for passengers, raw materials and consumer goods. However, the thousands of miles of rails crossing the country require regular maintenance and investment. Ultimately, some companies may engage in infrastructure fraud by billing for rail services and maintenance not actually performed. Contrary to what the executives operating those businesses might try to claim, infrastructure fraud is not a victimless crime.

Infrastructure fraud affects public resources

Technically, taxpayers help fund the federal programs that maintain, repair and expand railroad infrastructure. Therefore, every taxpayer in the country pays a price when railroads and service providers engage in infrastructure fraud. Large infrastructure investments often attract fraudulent economic activity and diminish the resources available for the necessary maintenance and improvement of domestic infrastructure.

Infrastructure fraud can lead to preventable tragedies

Rusting metal or rotting wood components can make a section of the railroad particularly dangerous. Moving parts require particularly careful maintenance to ensure reliable functioning. Even the uneven settling of the stone substrate laid under the railroad ties could lead to incidents that generate property damage or serious injuries. When a company claims to have performed repairs or maintenance, it might be years before a section of the railroad receives appropriate attention again. The fraudulent billing claims brought by a company not performing appropriate maintenance could directly lead to an incident years later that investment and maintenance may have prevented.

Railroad workers who learn that employers have engaged in fraudulent billing practices may want to take action. They can notify appropriate regulatory agencies about the fraud. In some cases, they can even initiate a qui tam lawsuit against their employers on behalf of the government. Successful lawsuits brought in response to fraudulent infrastructure claims could lead to financial compensation. Understanding the rules that apply to infrastructure fraud cases involving railroads may empower workers to do the right thing.

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