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Mar 22, 2021 by |

Marin County Whistleblower Attorney: Contractor Agrees To Settle False Claims Allegations for $3.9 Million

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Alleged Use of Substandard Materials

Non-Compliant Materials Allegedly Disguised

Dangerous Airfields Cited By Government

When a government contractor knowingly uses substandard or non-compliant materials or goods in performance of a government contract such conduct may constitute a false claim against the government.  See federal False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq.  Cases under the FCA may be brought by the government, but also by individuals.  In fact, the majority of FCA cases are brought by individuals referred to as whistleblowers or “relators” under the FCA. Individuals with knowledge of fraud (as in the use of substandard or non-compliant materials or goods) bring their cases (known as qui tams) by filing a complaint under seal and providing a copy of the complaint and a statement regarding their evidence to the government for evaluation.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(federal); Cal. Gov’t Code § 12652(c)(1)(California).  Possible plaintiffs include current or former executives, current or former employees, or accountants, agents, or consultants may be the individuals with firsthand knowledge of the fraud and the plaintiffs (also called “relators) in these qui tam actions.  If you have credible information for a false claims whistleblower case or any other whistleblower case in Marin County or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669 and we can help.

Allegations of Substandard/Non-Compliant Materials

In one recently settled case[1] a defense contractor has agreed to pay $3.9 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly selling substandard concrete used to construct U.S. Navy and Marine Corps airfields.  Specifically, the complaint alleged that the contractor knowingly provided contractually non-compliant concrete that did not meet contract specifications and requirements, contained improper ingredients including excessive alkali-silica reactive material, and contained elevated chloride content. These conditions had the potential to promote early-age cracking, surface defects, and the corrosion of embedded steel, and thus, could significantly impair the long-term durability of the concrete utilized on U.S. military bases, according to the complaint. In addition to the civil settlement, U.S. Attorney Robert S. Brewer for the Southern District of California announced a separate Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with defendant pursuant to which the contractor will admit to the underlying facts and accept responsibility to a one-count information for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and pay a $12,542,002 monetary penalty, comprised of a fine, forfeiture, and restitution. The civil settlement amounts to $3.9 million in addition to the payment under the DPA.

“Government contractors that supply substandard materials to our armed forces not only cheat the American taxpayers but also impose added costs and burdens on the military,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “Today’s settlement demonstrates our commitment to ensure that those who do business with the government comply with their contractual obligations.” 

Blowing The Whistle On Government Fraud

Cases such as the reported case are often brought by current or former employees and other insiders.  If the individual with information of the fraud is a currently employed individual, the employee/relator is protected from employer retaliation for bringing a qui tam case. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h)(federal anti-retaliation protection).  If you are fired because you brought any fraud to light, you can fight back under the law.  You may be entitled to sue your employer and seek double back pay (with interest), reinstatement, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and reimbursement for certain costs in connection with the litigation. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h)(2). Our Marin County whistleblower attorneys can represent you in any action for retaliation as well as represent you in your underlying whistleblower application.  We know how to investigate and litigate retaliation cases with the aim of obtaining our clients all relief available under all governing laws.

Contact Us

If you have credible information of government contractor fraud against the federal government , like use of substandard materials and goods, call Ingrid M. Evans and our other Marin County whistleblower attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>.  Our attorneys also handle bank fraud whistleblower cases under FIRREA/FIAFEA, commodity trading and securities fraud under the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program and the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, and tax fraud under the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program. 

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.

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