On September 28, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the U.S. Government will receive $4.63 million from L-3 Communications Corporation, Vertex Aerospace LLC and L-3 Integrated Systems LP (collectively L-3) for allegedly violating the False Claims Act (FCA), when it knowingly submitted overinflated bills to the U.S. Military for reimbursement of services rendered by its independent contracts for hours it spent preparing military personnel at the Continental U.S. Replacement Center (CRC) in Fort Benning, GA and Fort Bliss, TX for deployment.
L-3, headquartered in New York City, was awarded the DOD contract to provide training services to U.S. Military personnel for deployment preparation. The contract provided for orientation briefings, training, health screenings, and payroll processing and also included provisions for other administrative matters. In addition, L-3 was also awarded a DOD contracts under the U.S. Airforce to perform rotary aviation maintenance for support services for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Kuwait. Government contracts are awarded with the expectation that the guidelines outlined in the contract will be adhered to.
However, the government alleges that from 2006 to 2011, L-3 violated the contract when it knowingly submitted bills to the government for more hours than its independent contractors actually worked to train U.S. Military personnel. According to the government, claims are paid based on the actual time that military personnel spend at the CRC training facility. Instead of L-3 billing for the actual time each military personnel spent at CRC, it allegedly took the earliest arrival and the latest departure time of a single individual and then adjusted the times for other individuals that arrived later and/or departed earlier. For example, if someone arrived at CRC at 6:00am and another at 8:00am L-3 billed the government for the earlier time despite the later arrival. The same practice was used for the latest departure time, thereby causing L-3 to be in violation of the FCA.
This case was originally filed under the qui tam provision of the FCA by Robert A. Martin, a former L-3 independent contractor. Provisions of the FCA allow a person or persons to file a qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the government in order to recover damages for fraud committed against the government. Once the case is settled, an award of up to 30 percent of the settlement is paid to the whistleblower for exposing the fraud. In this case, Mr. Martin will receive $798,675, which represents his share of the settlement.
If you have information concerning a potential case involving a DOD contractor that is allegedly defrauding the government by overbilling for services, or a company or person knowingly committing other types of fraud against the government, do not hesitate to take action. You might be able to bring a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act, acting as a whistleblower, on behalf of the U.S. Government. Before filing your lawsuit, be sure to consult with an attorney familiar with the intricacies of the False Claims Act and qui tam lawsuits, as these attorneys are best equipped to help protect your rights and help you gain your share of any monetary reward from a potential settlement.
If you would like to consult with one of our False Claims Act attorneys concerning fraud against the government, please fill out our Confidential Case Evaluation form, or call (202) 973-0900 to speak with a lawyer at the law office of Tycko & Zavareei LLP.