Afghanistan Withdrawal Signals End Date to Police Wartime Fraud
Government investigations trial attorney Cary O. Aronovitz spoke to Bloomberg Law about the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act's (WSLA) clear requirements for ending a war. With direct U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan coming to an end, this may provide an end date for when federal prosecutors could bring wartime criminal fraud cases. According to the WSLA, established in 1948, prosecutors have up to five years until after the end of a war to bring criminal fraud charges. Complications have surfaced as experts consider whether the President's withdrawal announcement on July 8 sufficiently marked the end of the war and whether the U.S. military presence in Iraq leaves the time window open for WSLA. However, appeals courts have found the WSLA has clear and formal requirements for what it takes to end a war.
"The government can pursue a contracting fraud case until there is a formal presidential proclamation," said Cary O. Aronovitz, a former prosecutor who represented the government in Frediani. Following President Biden’s announcement, both government prosecutors and white collar attorneys will need to analyze whether the WSLA is suspended. If it has been suspended, this will re-start the clock for the government to timely bring a prosecution against companies or individuals for fraud against the military.