San-Diego-based Harper Construction Company, Inc. paid $5.4 million to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act by fraudulently billing the government for work on multiple projects on military bases through the use of sham small disadvantaged businesses. The settlement involves four government contracts to construct facilities at Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune. According to the government, Harper claimed it met the contract requirement that it subcontract a certain percentage of work to small disadvantaged businesses when in fact it subcontracted with sham small disadvantaged businesses. Also, Harper allegedly required the sham small businesses to pass through all of their work to an affiliated large business, Frazier Masonry Corporation. The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Rickey Howard, a former employee of Harper subcontractor Frazier Masonry Corporation, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Mr. Howard will receive a whistleblower award of $1,485,000 from the proceeds of the government’s recovery. DOJ (SDCA)
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