Alleged Overcharges on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Contracts
Former Defense Contractor Executive Blows Whistle
Set To Receive $4.625 Million As Reward
Knowingly overcharging the government for goods and services can be a violation of federal and State law depending on which level of government has been defrauded. See federal False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq. and the California False Claims Act (CFCA), Cal. Gov’t Code §§ 12650 et seq. Individuals with knowledge of knowing overbilling 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). Insiders like 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 Mendocino County or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669 and we can help.
Allegations of Overbilling
In one recently settled case a defense contractor has agreed to pay $25 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly submitting materially false cost and pricing data for contracts with the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the Department of the Navy (Navy) to supply and operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The allegations were originally made in an FCA qui tam complaint filed by a former executive of the contractor. The complaint alleges that, between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2017, defendant entered into five contracts with the Navy and two contracts with SOCOM for the supply and operation of UAVs, also known as “drones,” at various sites identified in the contracts. The complaint included allegations that the contractor knowingly induced the government to award it these seven, noncompetitively bid contracts at inflated prices by proposing cost and pricing data for new parts and materials in support of its contract proposal while planning to and in fact using less expensive recycled, refurbished, reconditioned, and/or reconfigured parts to perform the contracts. The government found the conduct unacceptable. “We expect companies that seek to do business with the government to provide complete and accurate information so contract prices can be negotiated on a level playing field,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Division Jeffrey Bossert Clark. “This settlement demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to take appropriate action when it determines that taxpayer dollars have been misused.”
Former Executive Blew Whistle
The lawsuit was filed by a former executive of the contractor. He will receive a reward of $4.625 million for bringing the case. While this plaintiff was a former executive, currently employed individuals are protected from employer retaliation for bringing false claims qui tam cases. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h)(federal anti-retaliation protection); Cal. Gov’t Code § 12653(employee anti-retaliation protection under California law). If you are fired because you brought any fraud to light, you can fight back under both the federal and State statutes. You may be entitled to sue your employer in federal or State court (usually where your underlying qui tam case is filed) 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) (federal); Cal. Gov’t Code § 12653(b)(California). Our Mendocino County whistleblower attorneys can represent you in any action for retaliation as well as represent you in your underlying whistleblower application.
If you have credible information of government contractor fraud against the federal government or the State of California, like overcharging or use of substandard goods, call Ingrid M. Evans and our other Mendocino County whistleblower attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.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.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way. The case is captioned United States ex rel. O’Hara v. Insitu, Inc. and The Boeing Company, Case No. C15-1527-JCC (W. D. Wash.). The claims resolved by the settlements are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.