On October 27, 2015, APL Limited, an ocean carrier based in Scottsdale, Arizona, agreed to pay the government $9.8 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA) when it allegedly failed to adhere to a Department of Defense (DOD) contract to provide GPS tracking of containers shipped to Afghanistan. APL also allegedly committed billing fraud when it charged the U.S. Government for GPS tracking services that it did not provide. APL is a wholly-owned American subsidiary of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines Limited.
The U.S. Government routinely uses GPS tracking devices on cargo shipped to military sites around the world. GPS is used as a safety mechanism designed to ensure that cargo or shipments to our troops are monitored and easily tracked — should there be a need to locate one or more containers being shipped. According to the contract between the DOD and APL, a single GPS device was supposed to be attached to each container, regardless of the number of containers being transported in a single shipment. However, according to the lawsuit filed by the government, APL failed to follow the guidelines of the contract. For example, the U.S. government alleged that APL billed the DOD for tracking services despite knowing that the tracking devices completely or partially failed to transmit data, or were not affixed to shipping containers. The Government also claimed that APL attached a single satellite tracking device to two shipping containers despite being required by the contract to affix one device to every container.
Previously, in 2009, APL Limited had agreed to pay the government $26.3 million to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims to the United States in connection with contracts to transport cargo in shipping containers to support U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In that case APL Ltd allegedly overcharged and double-billed the Department of Defense (DOD) to transport thousands of containers from ports to inland delivery destinations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When contractors agree to do business with the military it is expected that the work will be performed and executed in an honest and ethical manner. 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.