Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Contractor Pays $2.6 Million to Settle False Claims Act Violation

What do you do when you are awarded a Government contract and you find that you are unable to find qualified applicants to fill the positions? Or, what do you do when you are awarded a Government contract and you find that qualified applicants cost a lot more than you bid for those positions? In one case, you risk defaulting under the contract. In the other, you put your company in financial jeopardy. Or, you could falsify employee qualification records and carry on.

Triple Canopy in Reston VA faced that dilemma with a security guard contract in Iraq. The company was to provide security support to the Government's relief and reconstruction efforts in Iraq by providing a variety of security services at the second largest air base in Iraq. However, the security guards it employed, did not meet the minimum qualifications specified by the Army.

Triple Canopy hired security guards who could not pass contractually required firearms proficiency tests. The tests were designed by the Army to ensure that the guards hired to protect U.S. and allied personnel were capable of firing their assigned weapons safely and accurately. To avoid getting caught, Triple Canopy created false test scorecards that it was required to maintain for Government review. Ultimately, the Government paid for the unqualified guards.

Triple Canopy's scheme fell apart when a company whistle-blower came forward and filed a Qui Tam action. The Government intervened and Triple Canopy agreed to pay $2.6 million to settle the suit. Of the $2.6 million, the whistleblower will receive approximately $500,000.


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