WASHINGTON - Armor Holdings Products LLC has agreed to pay the United States $30 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly manufacturing and selling defective Zylon bullet-proof vests, the Justice Department announced today.
The United States alleged that Armor Holdings manufactured and sold Zylon bullet-proof vests despite possessing information showing that the Zylon materials degraded quickly over time and were not suitable for ballistic use. The Armor Holdings vests were purchased by the federal government, and by various state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies that were partially reimbursed by the United States under the Justice Department’s Bulletproof Vest Partnership program.
Armor Holdings’ Zylon vests contained either woven Zylon or a Zylon laminate insert called Z Shield. The Zylon fiber used in both types of vests was manufactured by Toyobo Co. Ltd. In July 2007, the United States sued Toyobo for its manufacture and sale of Zylon to U.S.-based body armor manufacturers. The Z Shield insert containing Zylon was manufactured by Honeywell Corporation. In June 2008, the United States sued Honeywell for its manufacture and sale of Z Shield to Armor Holdings.
"The Justice Department will not tolerate its first responders wearing defective bullet-proof vests," said Gregory G. Katsas, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. "This settlement will help ensure that first responders receive the highest quality ballistic protection."
This settlement is part of a larger investigation of the body armor industry’s use of Zylon in body armor. As part of today’s agreement, Armor Holdings has pledged its cooperation in the government’s ongoing investigation. The United States previously settled with three other participants in the Zylon body armor industry for more than $16 million.
The settlement with Armor Holdings 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 General Services Administration Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the Department of Energy Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of the Inspector General, the FBI and the Defense Contracting Audit Agency.