WASHINGTON - Protective Products International Inc. (PPI) has agreed to pay the United States $960,000 to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act by supplying defective Zylon bulletproof vests, the Justice Department announced today. As part of the agreement, PPI has pledged its cooperation in the government’s ongoing investigation of other entities that manufactured and sold Zylon vests purchased by the government.
The United States alleged that the Sunrise, Fla., company sold Zylon bulletproof vests that it knew were defective because the Zylon material was not appropriate for ballistic applications. The Zylon fiber for PPI’s vests came from Toyobo Co. Ltd. and was woven by Lincoln Fabrics Ltd. and Barrday Corp. These vests were purchased by the United States, and by various state, local, and/or tribal law enforcement agencies, which were partially reimbursed by the United States.
“Defective body armor places our first-responders at risk unnecessarily,” said Jeffrey S. Bucholtz, the acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. “Today's settlement shows that the Justice Department will hold accountable those who knowingly provide defective materials to the government.”
In July 2005, the Justice Department intervened in a qui tam action against Second Chance Body Armor and Toyobo seeking to recover damages relating to the sale of defective Zylon bulletproof vests by Second Chance. In June of 2007, the government filed a lawsuit against Toyobo for its role in the sale of defective Zylon bulletproof vests to the United States by other manufacturers of bulletproof vests.
Today’s settlement with PPI was the result of an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the FBI, the General Services Administration Office of the Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Army Criminal Investigative Division, the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of the Inspector General, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Department of Energy Office of the Inspector General.