This is urgent news. Sam.gov has experienced alleged fraudulent activity. SAM.gov is the U.S. Government’s System for Award Management and is how government contractors, including SBIR awardees, get paid. Each SBIR proposing team is required to register, or have a valid, current registration with SAM before applying.
However, due to the alleged fraud, SAM.gov now requires a notarized letter authorizing the person with the SAM account to act on behalf of the company. This is required of both NEW registrants and RENEWALS. Apparently it is taking up to 1 month to process the letters on SAM’s end.
Two impacts for SBIR Awardees and Proposing team
1) if you are a current awardee, make sure you allow plenty of time to get the letter IN and processed before your next renewal deadline.
2) NSF has pushed back the summer 2018 SBIR Phase I deadline from June 14th to July 10th to allow sufficient time for this new requirement.
“If your company hasn’t worked with the government before, you’ll need to register with these systems. You MUST have completed your SAM registration BEFORE you can begin entering your proposal in FastLane. Start as soon as possible!
Note, it is not clear how the notarized letter, which itself could be fraudulently signed by someone pretending to be a senior company official, will stop the fraud, which appears to be the changing of bank account information for legitimate contractors and awardees to redirect funds. However, at least the bad actor has to appear before a U.S. notary and provide concrete identification in order to get the letter notarized in the first place. This gives the Feds somewhere to start in order to find, stop and prosecute the fraud.
The alert also cautions current Sam.gov registrants to check and make sure their bank account information is still correct.