FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
FIRMS AGREE TO PAY $765,000 TO RESOLVE FALSE CLAIMS ALLEGATIONS
FOR WORK AT OKLAHOMA AIR FORCE BASE
WASHINGTON, D.C.- A former government contractor and two of its subcontractors will pay the government $765,000 to settle allegations that the firms filed false claims with the Department of the Army, the Justice Department announced today.
The settlement resolves allegations that the companies conspired to file a false request for money with the Army Corps of Engineers claiming that the government was responsible for defendants' increased costs for performing contract work at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. The lawsuit also alleges that North American Construction Corporation and its two subcontractors, CH&A, Inc. and EVI Cherrington Environmental, Inc. filed false claims for progress payments and that all of the defendants were liable for the costs of the government's investigation of the matters.
"This settlement illustrates the Justice Department's determination to prevent payment of inappropriately made claims on government contracts," said Robert D. McCallum, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for the Department's Civil Division.
The allegations regarding the false claims were brought to the attention of the United States by a lawsuit filed under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, a federal law that allows private individuals, known as relators, to sue on behalf of the government. The suit was filed in federal court in Houston by a former CH&A employee, Patrick Wilkins.
The investigation was conducted by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Civil Division of the Justice Department and the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas (Houston).
The case is entitled U.S. ex rel. Wilkins v. North American Construction Corp., CH&A Corporation, EVI Cherrington Environmental, Inc., and Weatherford International, Inc.(f/k/a EVI, Inc., Civ. No. H-95-5614 (S.D. TX)