Last month, the United States announced a $1.15 million settlement it reached with Caddell Construction, an Alabama-based construction company. The settlement resolves allegations that Caddell submitted false claims to the Army Corps of Engineers about hiring and mentoring Mountain Chief Management Services, a Native American owned company, while working on projects at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
Caddell was hired between 2003 and 2005 to build barracks at Fort Bragg and Fort Campbell. As part of its contract with the Army, Caddell agreed to hire and mentor Mountain Chief Management Services under the Department of Defense’s Mentor-Protégé and Indian Incentive Programs. Both programs provide reimbursements and rebates to participating companies for hiring and mentoring small disadvantaged and/or Native American-owned businesses. According to the allegations, Caddell never actually trained Mountain Chief employees and no Mountain Chief employees actually worked on the projects. Despite this, Caddell allegedly submitted invoices and supporting documents claiming that they were actually hiring and mentoring Mountain Chief.
The former director of business development at Caddell and the former president of Mountain Chief were both indicted on related charges in January 2012. They are currently awaiting trial in the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Additionally, Caddell entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the United States in December 2012 where it agreed to pay $2 million and to cooperate with the criminal case.
Caddell took advantage of federal programs designed to help disadvantaged or small businesses. This settlement helps right the wrong that they allegedly committed. Further, it sends a signal to other companies who are engaging in similar behavior that their actions will not go unnoticed.
For more information on this and other False Claims Act settlements, visit our website at www.fraudfighters.net.