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Oil Giant Chevron Agrees To Pay $45 Million To Settle Allegations That It Submitted False Claims To Government To Reduce Royalties Owed Under Federal And Indian Land Leases

On December 23, 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Chevron Corporation has agreed to pay approximately $45 million to settle a qui tam lawsuit alleging that the company violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims to the Government in order to reduce the amount of royalties it was required to pay according to federal and American Indian land leases.  More specifically, the lawsuit asserted that for over a decade Chevron systematically underreported the value of natural gas that it was taking from federal and Indian lands in order to decrease royalties owed under land leases.  The whistleblower that brought the qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the Government was entitled to approximately $12 million as his share of the settlement.  Because the whistleblower died while the lawsuit was pending, his share will be distributed to his heirs.