Nearly every business is subject to some level of oversight by the state or federal government. Many businesses and individuals do business with government entities, receive benefits from the government, or require government permits or certifications in order to carry on business. There are thousands of statutes and regulations that govern the public’s interaction with the government. All government agencies have an enforcement arm responsible for investigating and prosecuting possible violations of those statutes and regulations.
The serious problem of fraud and waste in federal programs is one of the most important pursuits of the federal law enforcement community, which includes not only the Federal Bureau of Investigation, other investigative agencies, and Department of Justice prosecutors, but also the audit and investigation staffs of the Inspectors General. The Inspectors General were created in large part in response to the need for increased detection of fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in federal programs. The United States believes it is best served by formally initiating matters of possible criminality into the criminal justice system as early as possible. In order to accomplish that goal, the Department of Justice mounts a coordinated and directed investigation and prosecution effort.
The government aggressively pursues situations where it believes businesses or individuals have received money or property in violation of a statute or regulation. These actions usually have both a civil and criminal component as the government has several means by which to recover its money or punish someone through fines, penalties, and even prison time.