One of the world’s largest aerospace and defense contractors is being accused of violating the False Claims Act after allegedly firing the manager of its Eastern Afghanistan Counter-Intelligence team for reporting fraud within the company. After being terminated, Cornelius Hosch consulted with a False Claims Act attorney and filed suit against BAE Systems Information Solutions in Federal Court.
As head of counter-IED intelligence within the office, Cornelius Hosch held an extremely prestigious and sensitive position at BAE Systems Information Solutions’ eastern Afghanistan installation. Hosch is a United States Army veteran with almost 20-years of service under his belt and an impeccable record. Upon accepting the position with BAE in December 2011, Hosch supervised around 194 employees in the eastern Afghanistan office.
According to Hosch, his troubles began only days after accepting the position with BAE. After voicing his concerns about fraudulent activity within the company, Hosch says he was retaliated against, harassed by his own boss and ultimately terminated.
Who is BAE Systems Information Solutions?
BAE Systems Information Solutions provides information and technology solutions for the defense, security and aerospace systems of the United States, Korea and Germany. The company also provides architecture and computing systems, managed network operations systems, strategic mission support and analytic services. BAE also offers the United States military certain software programs, such as imagery exploitation, analysis, fusion, and artificial intelligence. Some of these software programs involve military mission planning, battle management systems, and decision aids. BAE also provides the military with information assurance, computer network operations, geospatial information mapping, 3-D animation and visualization. Its services also include motion imagery exploitation and training.
Hosch Accuses BAE of Fraudulent Billing Practices
After Hosch began working for BAE’s eastern Afghanistan outfit, he claims to have almost immediately noticed something was not quite right. He discovered that BAE was hiring lower-waged and lower-skilled employees within the administrative and logistical pool, then placing them into much higher labor categories. For example, unqualified workers were being hired and placed into positions like Database Operator or Intelligence Analyst, while BAE submitted bills to the government for more lucrative work/workers.
“By falsely and purposefully miscategorizing the work performed, BAE charged the government for more work than was actually performed or which was contractually permitted,” Hosch’s official complaint alleged.
Sometime during December 2011, Hosch claims that he spoke to BAE management about changing the labor categories for some workers. He wanted the changes to “reflect the administrative logistical work they were actually performing,” according to the court documentation.
According to Hosch, his concerns were ignored and operations continued as usual for BAE. He chose to speak up again in February 2012, talking again with his supervisors about the alleged fraudulent billing practices of BAE. This time, Hosch said he was harassed by other BAE managers and warned about speaking out on their billing practices, which are clear violations of the False Claims Act.
Hostile Work Environment
According to Hosch, he spoke to his superior in February 2012 concerning the fraudulent billing practices. Hosch claims that his boss, Dan Weber, said, “You better not talk to me again about labor category fraud and time card fraud because I am using guys at my HQ to do my admin and help Mr. Tutt with ghostwriting of FRAGO’s.” (The meaning of FRAGO’s is unclear but is assumed to represent defense-slang for “fragmentary orders.”)
Hosch also alleges that Weber threatened him by saying if he “kept it up” he would “end up like Tony,” who was a former BAE employee that was let go for questioning practices around the BAE office.
Hosch goes on to say that Weber created a hostile work environment, violating the False Claims Act, by undermining his authority and contacting his employees directly.
In response to Weber’s actions, Hosch reported his behavior and his concerns about fraudulent billing within BAE to the company’s ethics department. After reporting these incidents, Hosch says he was terminated from his position at BAE.
According to Hosch, BAE retaliated against him in violation of the False Claims Act. He is seeking compensatory damages and special damages for mental and emotional distress and harm to his reputation.