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Worth Going Ballistic Over: Honeywell Settles False Claims Act Case Regarding Defective Material for Bulletproof Vests

Date Published
Nov 08, 2022

November 8, 2022.  The United States Department of Justice settled a case against conglomerate corporation Honeywell International Inc. (Honeywell) regarding its patented Z Shield material, which was ultimately incorporated into bulletproof vests.  Under the terms of the settlement, the manufacturer paid $3.35 million.  There was no whistleblower in this case, but the Honeywell settlement is the final case in the Justice Department’s decades-long investigations into the body armor industry. A whistleblower for the manufacturer or elsewhere in the supply chain could have received 15-25% of the government’s recovery for reporting contract fraud.

According to the allegations, Honeywell knowingly supplied defective material to bulletproof vest manufacturer Armor Holdings. Through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule contracts, federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement authorities purchased the bulletproof vests made with Z Shield from Armor Holdings, and these agencies were partially reimbursed under the Bullet Proof Vest Grant Partnership Act. Honeywell allegedly knew that its Z Shield material “degraded quickly over time in heat and humidity and was not suitable for ballistic use.”

Government contracting fraud can take many forms.  The False Claims Act was originally enacted in 1863 to address military suppliers selling defective products to the Union Army and curb profiteering. The False Claims Act still functions to recover misspent taxpayer dollars and reward those who step forward to report fraud, waste, and abuse. Knowingly supplying defective material for a product purchased as part of a government contract is fraud in that the supplier is certifying that they are meeting the requirements of the contract when they know they are not.

Besides the obvious implication that defective bulletproof vests can lead to avoidable casualties, directly harming law enforcement personnel and their loved ones, government contracts fraud harms taxpayers. Whistleblowers can call out government contractor fraud and deter future misspending of taxpayer dollars.

If you would like to report government contractor fraud, you can contact attorneys at Tycko & Zavareei LLP. Eva Gunasekera and Renée Brooker are former officials of the United States Department of Justice and prosecuted whistleblower cases under the False Claims Act. Renée served as Assistant Director at the United States Department of Justice, the office that supervises False Claims Act cases in all 94 United States District Courts. Eva was the Senior Counsel for Health Care Fraud. Eva and Renée now represent whistleblowers. For a free consultation, you can contact Renée at [email protected] (tel.: 202-417-3664) or contact Eva Gunasekera at [email protected]. You can also go to Tycko & Zavareei LLP’s website for whistleblowers to learn more at https://www.fraudfighters.net/.

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