Friday, June 1, 2018

$20 Million Settlement to Resolve False Claims Allegations

Earlier this week, several Inchape Shipping Services entities (Inchape) entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (and three qui tam whistleblowers). Inchape has agreed to pay $20 million to resolve allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act by knowingly over-billing the U.S. Navy under contracts for ship husbanding services. Inchape is a marine services contractor headquartered in UK.

Inchape provided goods and services to Navy ships at various international ports including food and other subsistence items, waste removal, telephone services, ship-to-shore transportation, force protection services and local transportation.

In 2014, three former employees of Inchape filed a Qui Tam or whistleblower suit alleging, among other things, that for nine years, from 2005 to 2014, Inchape

  • submitted invoices that overstated the quantity of goods and services provided
  • billed at rates in excess of applicable contract rates, and
  • double-billed for some goods and services

Inchape denied the charges. In its own press release, Inchape stated that it "remains confident in its legal positions, the action was filed eight years ago and yet remains in its earliest stages. Absent this settlement, the litigation would likely continue to distract Inchape personnel and drain resources for years to come".

Inchape further stated that it has determined to put this matter behind so that the company can focus on the future. The settlement agreement ending this matter does not find fault related to the disagreements that underlie the litigation.

Since this is a qui tam action, the three whistleblowers will share in $4.4 million of the $20 million settlement. 

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