South Carolina DBE Compliance Attorneys: Helping Businesses Through DBE Compliance and Investigations
Under federal, state and local law, there are a number of programs available designed to maximize business opportunities for businesses owned by minorities, women, and other disadvantaged individuals including the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE). The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT) is a program that was created to remedy past discriminatory practices against certain groups of individuals in obtaining government contracts. The purpose of this program is to increase the participation of disadvantaged business enterprises, such as minority and women-owned businesses and small business in federally-funded public construction and transportation-related projects.
Common DBE Violations
The law is extremely complex and regulation driven. For information specific to your situation, we suggest that you call our firm for a free consultation to review the facts specific to your case.
Common alleged DBE violations include:
- The disadvantaged individual does not actually control the business
- Control by a contractor over employees who work for the DBE business
- DBE use of contractor equipment or use of the DBE equipment by the contractor
Companies who are DBE certified are able to bid on contracts receiving funding from the Department of Transportation. Common opportunities include contracts with the various highway agencies, airports, and transit authorities. Only DBE certified entities may compete for these opportunities.
Compliance with the DBE regulations is important. Contractors that engage in DBE fraud can be fined, be suspended, or lose their certification. Under federal mail fraud and wire fraud laws, anyone who is aware and participates in a scheme to commit mail or wire fraud may potentially be in trouble.
During an investigation, the DBE certified business may be held responsible as well as the general contractor.
What’s at stake will vary depending upon the facts specific to your situation.
Commonly, a business found to violate DBE requirements can face:
- Criminal charges and prison time if convicted
- Hefty fines
- Forfeiture of money secured as a result of the contract
While the business holds the DBE certification, the law expressly provides that individuals within a DBE certified business face potential personal liability and prosecution. Importantly, you may still be held responsible for fraudulent activity as the business owner even if you do not have actual knowledge of the activity which occurred.
Instituting a DBE Compliance Program
As a DBE certified business, you should strongly consider instituting a DBE compliance program. Navigating the applicable state and federal regulations can be cumbersome. Staying aware of everything occurring on the jobsite can also be problematic. Our firm stands ready to assist you in drafting and implementing a DBE compliance program. Even if a violation is discovered, the fact that you had a program in place will likely work to your advantage during the investigation process.
Would your business like to be DBE certified? Is your DBE certified business currently under investigation? The Strom Law Firm offers a free consultation to discuss the DBE certification process and DBE compliance. 803.252.4800