Yesterday, Virginia-based defense contractor Triple Canopy, Inc. agreed to pay $2.6 million to settle government and whistleblower charges that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims for payment to the Department of Defense for unqualified security guards stationed in Iraq. The allegations stem from Triple Canopy’s one-year contract with the Joint Contracting Command in Iraq relating to the government’s relief and reconstruction efforts in Iraq. See DOJ Press Release.
Under the relevant contract, Triple Canopy was required to perform a variety of security services at Al Asad Airbase, the second largest air base in Iraq. According to the government and whistleblower who originated the case, Triple Canopy knowingly billed the United States for security guards who could not pass contractually required firearms proficiency tests designed to ensure the guards were capable of firing their weapons safely and accurately. Triple Canopy allegedly concealed the guards’ inability to pass these tests by creating false test scorecards that Triple Canopy was required to maintain for government review.
In announcing the settlement, the government stressed that government contractors “must be held accountable for their actions, especially when the safety of government personnel is at stake.” The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act by a former Triple Canopy employee. The whistleblower will receive an award of roughly $500,000 from the proceeds of the government’s recovery.
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