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Posts Tagged ‘Whistleblower’

Will the Exclusive Remedy continue to condone murder or will G4S/ArmorGroup finally be held responsible for the murders of Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare?????

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 30, 2012

WARNINGS ABOUT KILLER OF SCOT WENT UNHEEDED  October 1, 2012

ArmorGroup put the gun in his hand knowing that he was troubled

CONTROVERSIAL security firm G4S ignored warnings not to employ an armed guard in Iraq who went on to murder two of his colleagues, it has been claimed.

Danny Fitzsimons was sentenced to at least 20 years in an Iraqi prison last year for killing Scot Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in Baghdad in 2009.The parents of Paul McGuigan, 37, have now called for G4S ArmorGroup to face criminal charges for failing to heed the warnings and sending Fitzsimons to Iraq.Now a new BBC Scotland documentary has revealed that G4S was warned not to employ Fitzsimons, who was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and had been fired by a previous security contractor for punching a client.It emerged that a whistleblower sent two e-mails to the London-based company, which operates as Armorgroup in Iraq, expressing concerns that Fitzsimons’ unstable behaviour made him unsuitable to be handling weapons in a war zone.
The first e-mail, revealed in tonight’s BBC Scotland Investigates: Britain’s Private War programme, reads: “I am alarmed that he will shortly be allowed to handle a weapon and be exposed to members of the public. I am speaking out because I feel that people should not be put at risk.”And in a second e-mail, sent as 32-year-old Fitzsimons was about to start work in Baghdad, the whistleblower adds:“Having made you aware of the issues regarding the violent criminal Danny Fitzsimons, it has been noted that you have not taken my advice and still choose to employ him in a position of trust.
“I have told you that he remains a threat and you have done nothing.”Paul McGuigan’s mother, Corinne Boyd-Russell, from Innerleithen, in Peebleshire, said: “Fitzsimons fired the bullets. But the gun was put in his hand by G4S ArmorGroup.“I want G4S to be charged with corporate manslaughter and be held accountable for what they did.”The parents of Fitzsimons were also shocked to hear about the existence of the e-mails.Mother Liz Fitzsimons, from Manchester, said: “The people who we feel are responsible, who we hold responsible for putting that gun in Danny’s hand, are without a shadow of a doubt G4S.”The news comes just months after the UK Government was forced to call in 1,200 troops to police the Olympic Games venues after G4S failed to provide enough staff.

The firm recently won a £20million contract to manage the electronic tagging of Scottish offenders.

A spokesman for G4S said: “Although there was evidence that Mr Fitzsimons falsified and apparently withheld material information during the recruitment process, his screening was not completed in line with the company’s procedures.

“Our screening processes should have been better implemented in this situation, but it is a matter of speculation what, if any, role this may have played in the incident.”

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, G4S, Hope that I die, Iraq, Melt Down, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Ronco Consulting, State Department, UK Contractor killed, Wackenut | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Senate Bill would protect contractor whistleblowers

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 4, 2009

By Robert Brodsky rbrodsky@govexec.com

The head of the Senate contracting oversight subcommittee introduced legislation on Thursday that would provide whistleblower rights to employees of companies receiving government contracts.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., sponsored the legislation (S. 1745) that would also apply to employees of state and local governments, nonprofits, and other companies receiving grants or other federal reimbursements such as Medicare.

“Whistleblowers are our first line of defense against waste, fraud and abuse,” McCaskill said. “We’ve got to do everything possible to protect them.”

The bill would defend whistleblowers who make disclosures to their employer, Congress or agency inspector generals when they believe there has been a violation of law, rule or regulation related to an agency contract. Such disclosures also would cover abuse of authority by contract managers — a definition that would include unethical practices that technically are not illegal, such as cronyism.

“Unless the inspector general determines that the complaint is frivolous, does not relate to covered funds, or another federal or state judicial or administrative proceeding has previously been invoked to resolve such complaint, the inspector general shall investigate the complaint and, upon completion of such investigation, submit a report of the findings of the investigation to the person, the person’s employer and the head of the appropriate agency,” the bill states.

The legislation also would shield contract workers when preconditions of their employment forced them to relinquish their whistleblower rights. In many cases, McCaskill said, new employees are forced to sign gag orders and to waive their statutory remedies against retaliation, submitting any dispute to company-financed arbitrators.

Government employees and private sector workers who receive contracts from the Defense Department already have many of these protections. McCaskill’s bill would extend those safeguards to civilian agency contractors.

S. 1745 also would:

  • Establish a burden of proof in whistleblower cases, similar to that involving federal employees
  • Guarantee that unless an extension is approved, the IG will complete its investigation within 180 days
  • Give whistleblowers and their employers the right to inspect an IG’s investigative file on their case
  • Allow whistleblowers to take their case to court and access to a jury trial once the administrative review is completed.

Stephen Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center, said the legislation is essential in ensuring that taxpayer dollars are not being wasted.

“Studies have shown that whistleblowers are the single most important source of information when people are ripping off the government,” Kohn said. “Without this kind of law, people will not come forward to disclose fraud.”

Additional whistleblower protections soon could be available to federal workers through legislation (S. 372) sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

The bill, which the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved in July, extends whistleblower protections to employees of the intelligence community and Transportation Security Administration. Government employees also would be allowed to bring major claims to jury trials.

Original Story here

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