Catch of the Week: The Boeing Company
This week’s Department of Justice (DOJ) Catch of the Week goes to the Boeing Company. Yesterday (September 28), DOJ announced the Virginia-based aircraft maker agreed to pay $8.1 million to settle charges it violated the False Claims Act in connection with its Navy contracts to manufacture the V-22 Osprey military aircraft.
According to the government, for more than ten years Boeing violated contractual specifications relating to certain composite components of the aircraft. Specifically, the government alleges Boeing did not perform required monthly testing on autoclaves used in the composite cure process and was not in compliance with additional requirements related to the testing.
Notably, the False Claims Act was designed to address this very kind of military contracting fraud. The statute was enacted during the Civil War to go after war profiteers trying to dupe the Union Army with defective munitions, lame mules, and other fraudulent military sales. While the breadth and scope of the statute now cover virtually any fraud against the government, with an especially heavy focus these days on Medicare and Medicaid fraud, going after bread-and-butter government contracting fraud remains a high priority for DOJ.
In announcing the Boeing settlement, the government reaffirmed its pledge to strictly enforce its government contracts. DOJ Civil Chief Brian Boynton heralded the settlement as a demonstration of “our commitment to hold accountable contractors who violate such obligations and undermine the integrity of the government’s procurement process.”
Department of Defense official Patrick Hegarty stressed that ensuring integrity of the military supply chain was an especially high priority:
The DoD expects its contractors to adhere to contract specifications and provide quality products to the U.S. military. We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate allegations of contractors circumventing required testing protocols and submitting false claims during the DoD procurement process.
Like the majority of False Claims Act actions, this one was initiated by a whistleblower under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private individuals to bring lawsuits against those defrauding the government. In return, successful whistleblowers are entitled to up to 30% of the government’s recovery. Over the past 25 years, whistleblowers have recovered billions of dollars in whistleblower rewards under the False Claims Act and have been responsible for tens of billions of dollars in government recoveries.
The whistleblowers in this case are former Boeing employees who worked in composites fabrication and autoclave operations with the V-22 program. They will receive a whistleblower award of $1,539,000 from the government’s recovery.
If you would like more information on what it means to be a whistleblower or think you may have information relating to government contract fraud, healthcare fraud, or any other kind of fraud or misconduct involving a government program, please feel free to contact us so we can connect you with a member of the Constantine Cannon whistleblower lawyer team for a free and confidential consultation.
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