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February 14, 2014 Military Contractor Fraud

Whistleblower Helps Recover $2.1 Million on Behalf of Army Corps of Engineers

The history of the False Claims Act is steeped in combatting wartime fraud. While exploiting the U.S. government and its troops during times of war is hardly a new concept, its application has changed over time as technologies advance. In a recent case involving the Army Corps of Engineers, one defense contractor has agreed to pay over $2.1 million to settle claims it violated the FCA with regard to its contract to provide mapping services. Under the FCA, a whistleblower may file a private lawsuit, with the help of an attorney, naming an individual or corporation liable to the U.S. government for acts of fraud. If the whistleblower is successful in recovering money, he or she could keep up to 30 percent of the reward. In some cases, the U.S. government opts to intervene and implement its own investigative tools, which often results in uncovering additional fraudulent acts or multiple liable defendants.

United States ex rel. James Peterson v. Sanborn Map Company Inc.

In U.S. v. Sanborn Map, the defendant is alleged to have violated several foreign and domestic defense contracts, including several executed during the Iraq war. Specifically, Sanborn was commissioned to provide maps for U.S. Marines traveling by convoy in Iraq, as well as domestic mapping services and assistance with civilian projects. According to the contract between Sanborn and the U.S. government, it was to receive approval before sub-contracting or outsourcing work to other groups. Allegedly, Sanborn sub-contracted several aspects of the project to foreign entities during the Iraq war, resulting in unnecessary delays and frustration. In addition, allegations reveal that Sanborn was to complete all domestic work in-house and was not authorized to outsource any domestic project – which it routinely violated, resulting in inflated invoices and charges for unrelated work.

The case was filed by whistleblower James Peterson, a former employee of Sanborn. His share of the settlement amount has not been determined at this time.

Government’s Response

The case against Sanborn is one of just 20 percent of qui tam lawsuits in which the government opted to intervene. The government implemented the investigative powers of the DOJ’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. In a statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart F. Delery said, “We are committed to defending the integrity of our public contracting process [and] [t]he Department of Justice will not hesitate to pursue companies that knowingly fail to comply with their contractual obligations, particularly obligations involving the protection of our national security interests.”

Contact a Whistleblower Attorney Today

If you are aware of contract fraud involving the U.S. government, you could stand to receive a portion of any amount recovered by the federal government. As the above case illustrates, a single contractor could be involved in widespread fraud and violations that not only waste taxpayer money, but could place national security and troop safety at risk. To speak with a competent whistleblower attorney, contact Berger Montague today.