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Posts Tagged ‘False Claims Act’

ArmorGroup North America settles Whistleblower False Claims for $7.5 million

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 7, 2011

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Armor Group North America and Its Affiliates Pay $7.5 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

WASHINGTON – Armor Group North America Inc. (AGNA) and its affiliates have paid the United States $7.5 million to resolve allegations that AGNA submitted false claims for payment on a State Department contract to provide armed guard services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Justice Department announced today. The settlement resolves U.S. claims that in 2007 and 2008, AGNA guards violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) by visiting brothels in Kabul, and that AGNA’s management knew about the guards’ activities. The settlement also resolves allegations that AGNA misrepresented the prior work experience of 38 third country national guards it had hired to guard the Embassy, and that AGNA failed to comply with certain Foreign Ownership, Control and Influence mitigation requirements on the embassy contract, and on a separate contract to provide guard services at a Naval Support Facility in Bahrain.

 

The settlement resolves a whistleblower suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit was initially filed under seal by James Gordon against AGNA, ArmorGroup International plc, G4S plc and Wackenhut Services Inc. under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals, called “relators”, to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds of a settlement or judgment awarded against a defendant. Mr. Gordon will receive $1.35 million of the settlement proceeds. During 2007 and early 2008, Mr. Gordon was employed by AGNA, as its director of operations.

Please read the entire statement at the Department of Justice

Posted in Armorgroup, State Department, Whistleblower | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Federal Judge Denies Defendants ArmorGroup’s and Wackenhut’s Motions to Dismiss False Claims Act Whistleblower Lawsuit Involving Fraudulent Practices at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 29, 2010

According to Debra S. Katz, counsel for Mr. Gordon, “this is an important victory for conscientious employees, like Mr. Gordon, who blow the whistle on fraudulent practices by defense contractors and wind up then paying the ultimate price.  The court’s decision today makes clear that such employees can bring federal claims under the False Claims Act to obtain redress.”

Debra S. Katz and Lisa Banks, attorneys at Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP, along with Janet Goldstein and Robert Vogel at Vogel, Slade & Goldstein, LLP, represent James Gordon.

Judge Cacheris’ opinion is available at http://www.kmblegal.com/2010/08/27/court-denies-summary-judgment-in-false-claims-act-whistleblower-retaliation-suit-by-kmb-client-james-gordon-against-afghanistan-defense-contractor-armorgroup/.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ Judge James Cacheris of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has denied Defendants ArmorGroup North America (“AGNA”), ArmorGroup International, Wackenhut Services, Inc., and Cornelius Medley’s motions to dismiss whistleblower James Gordon’s lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act.

On September 9, 2009, Mr. Gordon, former Director of Operations of AGNA, filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit under the False Claims Act in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, charging that ArmorGroup management retaliated against him for whistleblowing, internally and to the United States Department of State (“DoS”), about illegalities committed by ArmorGroup in the performance of AGNA’s contracts with the United States to provide security services at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan and at the U.S. Naval base in Bahrain.

The Complaint charges that during Mr. Gordon’s seven-month tenure as Director of Operations, he investigated, attempted to stop, and reported to DoS a myriad of serious violations committed by ArmorGroup, including:

  • Severely understaffing the guard force necessary to protect the U.S. Embassy;
  • Allowing AGNA managers and employees to frequent brothels notorious for housing trafficked women in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act;
  • Endangering the safety of the guard force during transport to and from the Embassy by attempting to substitute company-owned subpar, refurbished vehicles from Iraq rather than purchasing armored escort vehicles as promised to DoS;
  • Knowingly using funds to procure cheap counterfeit goods from a company in Lebanon owned by the wife of AGNA’s Logistics Manager; and
  • Engaging in practices to maximize profit from the contract with reckless disregard for the safety and security of the guard force, the U.S. Embassy, and its personnel

In his Memorandum Opinion (August 27, 2010), Judge Cacheris noted that “Plaintiff alleges and Defendants offer no facts to dispute that Defendants … began to try to constructively discharge [Mr. Gordon] by ‘making [his] working conditions intolerable.'”  Judge Cacheris further noted that “Plaintiff alleges, and Defendants have not offered any evidence refuting the fact, that [Defendant] Medley excluded Plaintiff from management meetings, shunned him, and relegated him to a position of persona non grata in the office” and that “Medley made clear to Plaintiff by his behavior, and to other staff members by his direct boasts, that his priority was to force Gordon to quit.”  In denying Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, Judge Cacheris concluded that “there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding the continued nature and duration of the allegedly illegal acts Plaintiff was requested and required to participate in.”  The parties will now proceed into the discovery phase of the litigation.

Posted in Afghanistan, Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, False Claims Act, G4S, State Department, Wackenut, Whistleblower | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

DOJ Intervenes in Lawsuit Against KBR on Kickbacks

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 5, 2010

By Brent Kendall
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The Justice Department said Wednesday that it is joining a lawsuit alleging that employees of KBR Inc. (KBR), the prime contractor for logistical support of U.S. military operations in Iraq, took kickbacks from two freight-forwarding companies.

The department alleged that KBR employees accepted meals, drinks and tickets to sports events and golf outings from freight-forwarding companies Eagle Global Logistics and Panalpina Inc., a unit of Panalpina WeltTransport Ltd (PWTN.EB).

The lawsuit was brought under the federal False Claims Act, which provides financial rewards to litigants who report fraud against the government.

-By Brent Kendall, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9222; brent.kendall@dowjones.com

Posted in Civilian Contractors, KBR | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

DynCorp Took Uncle Sam for Millions For a Nonexistent Database, Man Says

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 22, 2010

DALLAS (CN) – A DynCorp International executive says he was fired for complaining that the company charged the State Department millions of dollars for a database that did not exist. The 2004 contract awarded DynCorp $1 million to build a database of Americans trained in law enforcement who were willing to go to Afghanistan or Iraq at a moment’s notice, and $1 million a year to maintain it, Michael Riddle claims in Federal Court.      Riddle claims the database was never built. And he says that “During the last few years of plaintiff’s employment, the fact that the database was a nonentity was commonly discussed in plaintiff’s department.”
He adds that “DynCorp took the State Department’s money and never made a glancing blow toward producing or maintaining any type of database that was required by contract.
“Additionally, senior company executives, such as Aiman Zureikat and Richard Cashon, readily acknowledged that they were using funds that were earmarked as CADRE payments for other company expenses, such as recruiting.”
Riddle, who began as a technical adviser, says he was a senior employment manager when he was fired after voicing concerns about possible criminal consequences for using his work to fool the government.
Riddle says he kept his own database to track recruits sent to the Police Assessment, Selection and Training facility in Fredericksburg, Va. He tracked how many people washed out, and why, and who advanced out of the facility, according to his complaint.
In 2007, Riddle says, the State Department demanded use of the database. He adds that in 2008, his bosses at DynCorp approached him about using his personal database, and pawning off his work as work that was supposed to have been done for the government’s database.
“When plaintiff protested, plaintiff was reminded that plaintiff needed to be a team player,” his complaint states.
Riddle says he “has since learned that a responsible party at the State Department allowed DynCorp to avoid its contractual obligation to create the database. On information and belief, the State Department advised DynCorp that any data that it could cobble together would be sufficient to constitute compliance.”
Riddle claims that this “scheme was designed to (1) cover up DynCorp’s fraud in failing to do anything toward creation of the database; (2) as well as calculate to provide ‘cover’ for the State Department employee who had allowed the database project to languish and essentially become either impossible or impracticable to reconstruct.”
Riddle seeks damages for retaliation under the False Claims Act. He is represented by Steve Kardell with Clouse Dunn Khoshbin of Dallas.  Original Story at Courthouse News

Posted in Dyncorp, False Claims Act | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

War Fraud Whistleblowers Under Wraps

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 30, 2009

Monday 30 November 2009

Truthout

Recently, the Congressional Research Service released an amazing statistic – it will cost one million dollars a year to support one soldier for one year in Afghanistan.

This mind-blowing number partly includes the cost of private contractors who have moved into areas of support that have been strictly military in the past. Estimates for the numbers of contractors have been as high as one contractor for every soldier. As President Obama prepares to announce his decision on Afghanistan, the price of this war is also on his mind since he included Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, in his last war council.

One of the reasons for the high costs of maintaining each soldier is the lack of oversight of private contractor billings over the course of these two wars. The Department of Defense (DOD), and especially the Army, has fought the auditors and the investigators in the military who have attempted to expose fraud, waste, overbillings and other abuses of costs in contractor contracts. The contractors, using contingency contracting, which is similar to the old cost plus contracts, knew that their profits and, more important, their future task orders and contracts would be priced based on what they spend in the beginning of the wars. So the contractor billing meter, especially in labor costs, spun vigorously in the first years of the war with little oversight. When the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) tried to withhold a small percentage of payment from KBR, the largest contractor, because it believed that the billings were excessive and they wanted to scrub the numbers, the Army pushed past the DCAA and paid KBR the excessive costs. This set the tone to let the contractor billings run wild.

Click here to see Truthout’s Matt Renner interview Dina Rasor.

Click here to read full article by Dina Rasor at Truthout

Stay tuned . . . if you don’t hear about American war contracting fraud cases in the news, you will know that there is a group of very frustrated whistleblowers who cannot legally tell you what is going on with fraud in our wars.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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