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False Claims Act Investigations

Press Releases tagged with "False Claims Act Investigations"

  • Federal Contractor Agrees to Pay More Than $6 Million to Settle Overbilling Allegations

    For Information Contact

    Public Affairs (202) 254-4100

    For Immediate Release

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    Virginia-based Information Innovators Inc. (Triple-I) has agreed to pay the United States $6.05 million to resolve allegations that a predecessor company, Creative Computing Solutions Inc. (CCSi), violated the False Claims Act by knowingly overbilling the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for work performed by CCSi employees who lacked required job qualifications.

    Triple-I, which provides IT services and solutions to federal agencies, acquired Maryland-based CCSi in 2015. CCSi formerly provided IT services to DHS pursuant to an Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions Contract (EAGLE Contract). The settlement resolves allegations that, from October 2007 to April 2014, CCSi knowingly submitted claims for payment to DHS for work performed by CCSi employees who lacked required job qualifications.  CCSi allegedly violated the terms of the EAGLE Contract by using under-qualified personnel who were billed to DHS at higher rates reserved for more qualified employees.

    “Contractors that knowingly overcharge the government will be held accountable,” said Acting Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The department will ensure that that those who do business with the government, and seek taxpayer funds, do so fairly and in accordance with their contractual commitments.”

    “Defense contractors are required to bill for costs actually incurred, and to be truthful in the claims they submit to federal agencies,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner for the District of Maryland. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners are committed to protecting taxpayer dollars and ensuring integrity and compliance with federal agency standards.”

    “DHS OIG remains committed to protecting government programs, and American taxpayers who contribute to them,
    from fraudsters,” said Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari. “Our agency, working closely with our law enforcement partners, will continue to root out these unlawful contracting fraud schemes.”

    The settlement was a result of a joint investigation by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch (Fraud Section), the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General’s Major Frauds and Corruption Unit. The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

    Attachment(s):

    Topic(s):
    False Claims Act

    Component(s):
    Civil Division

    USAO - Maryland

    Press Release Number:
    21-163

  • International Technological University Pay $1.17 Million Settle False Claims Act Allegations Related Student Visa

    For Information Contact

    Public Affairs (202) 981-6000

    For Immediate Release

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    On January 8, 2021, the International Technological University (ITU) in Santa Clara, California, entered into a settlement agreement with the United States to pay $1,170,000 under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, in order to settle allegations related to student visa fraud.  

    ITU, a non-profit educational institution, participates in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, the component within Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that manages the certification process for U.S. educational institutions seeking to enroll nonimmigrant students.  To qualify for a visa under the program, a foreign national must apply and be admitted to an approved U.S. educational institution, and then submit a visa application to the Department of State. 

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) initiated this investigation based on allegations that between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2015, ITU did not comply with federal immigration laws governing the issuance of student visas.  Specifically, ITU is alleged to have knowingly submitted false forms for foreign nationals seeking to qualify for a student visa, depriving the United States of visa application fees.   

    This matter was jointly investigated by DHS OIG, HSI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, Civil Division, San Francisco, California.  

    “Greed-driven schemes to manipulate U.S. visa laws will not be tolerated,” said DHS Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari.  “Working with our law enforcement partners, our investigators will continue to protect the integrity of U.S. visa programs and related resources.” 

    “Homeland Security Investigations will not allow fraud schemes to go unchecked,” said Homeland Security Investigations (NorCal) Special Agent in Charge Tatum King.  “Institutions of higher learning should always set the example and teach students the importance of their civic responsibility to obey the law.  When an institution participates in fraud schemes, it degrades the integrity of the institution and jeopardizes the individuals the institution has been entrusted to teach at an impressionable time in their lives.  HSI is grateful for the contributions of our partners with DHS OIG, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, and USCIS on this important settlement agreement.”

    Officers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Office of Fraud Detection and National Security assisted with the early investigation in 2010 and subsequently spent thousands of hours identifying hundreds of students who were not attending class as required.  USCIS San Francisco District Director John Kramar stated, “USCIS takes integrity of our immigration system seriously and will pursue fraud and misuse with enforcement agencies.”

    This settlement resolves allegations originally brought in a lawsuit filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act by Concepcion Saenz-Cambra, Ph.D., an ITU employee.  Under the False Claims Act, private parties can sue on behalf of the government for false claims for government funds and to receive a share of the recovery.  

    The case is captioned U.S. ex rel. Saenz-Cambra v. International Technological University.  The claims resolved by the settlements are allegations only.

  • Canadian Company to Pay U.S. More Than $1 Million Related to Sale of Defective Bullet-proof Vests

    For Immediate Release

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    WASHINGTON - Lincoln Fabrics Ltd., a Canadian weaver of ballistic fabrics, and its American subsidiary, have agreed to pay the United States $4 million to settle the United States’ lawsuit against Lincoln for violations of the False Claims Act in connection with their role in the weaving of Zylon fabric used in the manufacture and sale of defective Zylon bullet-proof vests, the Justice Department announced today.

    Using Zylon fiber manufactured by Toyobo Corp., Lincoln wove ballistic fabric for the body armor industry. Lincoln’s woven Zylon fabric was used in the manufacture of Zylon bullet-proof vests sold by several companies, including Second Chance Body Armor Inc., First Choice Armor Inc. and Point Blank Body Armor Inc. These vests were purchased by the United States, and by various state, local, and/or tribal law enforcement agencies, who were partially reimbursed by the United States.

    The United States alleged that the Zylon in these vests lost its ballistic capability quickly, especially when exposed to heat and humidity. The United States further alleged that Lincoln was aware of the defective nature of the Zylon by at least December 2001, but continued to sell Zylon for use in ballistic armor until August 2005, when the National Institute of Justice issued a report that Zylon degraded quickly in ballistic applications. At that time, all American body armor manufacturers stopped using Zylon in body armor.

    In October 2009, the United States filed suit against Lincoln for violations of the False Claims Act and related claims. The settlement announced today resolves this lawsuit.

    "Companies that knowingly sell the government defective bulletproof vests not only commit fraud, they put the lives of our law enforcement women and men at risk," said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. "We will pursue vigorously allegations that these or any other companies manufactured flawed vests, knew about their problems, yet sold them anyway."

    This settlement is part of a larger investigation of the body armor industry’s use of Zylon in body armor. As part of today’s agreement, Lincoln has pledged its cooperation in the Government’s on-going investigation. The United States previously has settled with six other participants in the Zylon body armor industry for over $54 million. Additionally, the United States has pending lawsuits against Toyobo Co., Honeywell Inc., Second Chance Body Armor, Inc. and First Choice Armor Inc.

    Today’s settlement with Lincoln was the result of an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the General Services Administration Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the Department of Energy Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of the Inspector General and the Defense Contracting Audit Agency.

    This settlement is part of the government’s emphasis on combating fraud. One of the most powerful tools in that effort is the False Claims Act. The Justice Department’s total recoveries in False Claims Act cases since January 2009 have topped $3 billion.

  • U.S. Sues First Choice Armor & Equipment for Providing Defective Bullet-Proof Vests to Law Enforcement Agencies

    For Immediate Release

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    The United States has filed a False Claims Act lawsuit against First Choice Armor & Equipment Inc. and its founder, Edward Dovner, for submitting false claims for bullet-proof vests purchased by the United States for federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, the Justice Department announced today.

    First Choice, which manufactured and sold bullet-proof vests containing Zylon fiber from 2000- 2005, marketed its vests to law enforcement agencies as a thinner and more lightweight alternative to other bullet-proof vests. The United States alleges that at the same time First Choice was selling its Zylon bullet-proof vests, the company and its founder knew of significant manufacturing and degradation problems in the Zylon fiber that rendered the material unsafe for ballistic use. In fact, when the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice tested eight of First Choice’s bullet-proof vests in 2005, all failed.

    The United States has also sued Mr. Dovner and Karen Herman, Mr. Dovner’s wife and First Choice’s president, for a fraudulent conveyance – a transfer of property that is made to swindle, hinder or delay a creditor, or to put such property beyond his or her reach – in violation of the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act. The government alleges that after learning of the investigation into Zylon bullet-proof vests, Mr. Dovner and Ms. Herman removed more than $5 million from First Choice. Mr. Dovner then purchased a Ferrari, a Maserati and a private jet through various shell companies.

    "By providing defective bullet-proof vests to the nation’s law enforcement officers, First Choice put the lives of those officers at risk," stated Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. "The government’s investigation has determined that bullet-proof vest manufacturers, such as First Choice, wasted taxpayer dollars by failing to address these problems even after they were warned about them."

    The United States is already pursuing lawsuits against Toyobo Co., the manufacturer of the Zylon fiber used in the First Choice bullet-proof vests, as well as Second Chance Body Armor and Honeywell International Inc., two other companies that manufactured Zylon vests or components for those vests. The government has previously settled for more than $47 million with five other entities that allegedly were involved in the manufacture or sale of defective Zylon vests.

    Assistant Attorney General West acknowledged the cooperation between the many government agencies participating in this ongoing investigation, including the Justice Department’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the General Services Administration Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the Department of Energy Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Defense Contracting Audit Agency.

  • United States Settles False Claims Act Allegations Against Importer

    For Immediate Release

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    SAN FRANCISCO – Bizlink Technology, Inc. (BTI), an importer of computer cable assemblies located in Fremont, California, has paid $1.2 million to settle allegations that it violated the civil False Claims Act by underpaying customs duties owed on goods imported from China, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Brian J. Humphrey, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations, San Francisco.

    The United States alleges that, from 2006 through 2008, BTI underpaid customs duties on goods that BTI imported into the United States from Bizlink International Electronics Co., Ltd., a factory in Shenzhen, China. BTI allegedly obtained two sets of invoices for each shipment from the Chinese factory: one true invoice that BTI paid, and a second invoice falsely stating a lower cost. The false invoices were allegedly used to calculate the customs duties that BTI paid on the imported goods, resulting in substantial underpayments.

    “This office remains committed to fighting fraud against the federal Treasury in whatever form it appears. When a company fails to pay the customs duties it owes, it takes from the federal government, and unfairly burdens honest individuals and companies who pay their fair share.” U.S. Attorney Haag said.

    “Customs and Border Protection enforces U.S trade laws that protect our nation’s economy and the safety of our citizens. Customs Duty helps control the flow of legitimate foreign manufactured goods entering the country. Attempting to circumnavigate those requirements by fraud carries serious repercussions,” said Brian J. Humphrey, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in San Francisco.

    The settlement resolves a whistleblower lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. A manager who formerly worked at BTI filed the case pursuant to the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Under those provisions, private citizens, known as “relators,” may file lawsuits on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds of a settlement or judgment. The relator will receive $252,000 as his share of the government’s recovery from BTI.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Winslow handled the matter on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, with assistance from Financial Fraud Investigator Michael Zehr and Legal Assistant Kathy Terry. The matter was investigated by the DHS Offices of Inspector General and Homeland Security Investigations.

  • Company Pays Over $500K to Settle Overbilling Case

    For Immediate Release

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    RE/MAX Allegiance Relocation Services, a Virginia-based move management company, has agreed to pay the government $509,807 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by overbilling for transportation services, the Department of Justice announced today.

    “Today’s settlement demonstrates our continuing vigilance to ensure that those doing business with the government do so legally and honestly and that taxpayer funds are not misused,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Stuart F. Delery. “Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of taxpayers will be held accountable.”

    The settlement relates to allegations involving contracts to transport personal property of federal employees relocating duty stations within the United States and between the United States and Canada. The government alleged that the defendant charged for move management services that were not provided and overbilled agencies on other moves by charging inapplicable tariff rates.

    “We encourage whistleblowers to provide us with useful information to help us combat all manners of fraud on the U.S. Government,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana J. Boente.

    “We will continue to investigate allegations of federal contractors fraudulently maximizing their profits at the expense of American taxpayers,” said U.S. General Services Administration Acting Inspector General Robert C. Erickson.

    The settlement resolves allegations filed in a lawsuit by Michael Angel, a former employee of RE/MAX Allegiance Relocation Services, in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. The lawsuit was filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery. The act also allows the government to intervene and take over the action, as it did in this case. Angel will receive $86,667.

    The settlement was the result of a coordinated effort by the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the General Services Administration Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General and NASA Office of Inspector General.

    The case is captioned United States ex rel. Michael Angel v. Franconia Real Estate Services, Inc., d/b/a RE/MAX Allegiance Relocation Services; No. 1:12cv764 (E.D.Va.). The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.