WASHINGTON - Debtor companies Point Blank Solutions Inc. (formerly DHB Industries Inc.), Point Blank Body Armor Inc. and Protective Apparel Corporation of America Inc. (collectively, “Point Blank”) have paid the United States $1 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by knowingly manufacturing and selling defective Zylon bulletproof vests, the Justice Department announced today. The payment was made to the United States at the closing of the sale of the bankrupt companies’ assets.
The United States alleged that the Pompano Beach, Fla.,and Jacksboro, Tenn., companies manufactured and sold Zylon bulletproof vests despite possessing information showing that the Zylon materials degraded quickly over time and were not suitable for ballistic use. The Point Blank 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 Grant Program.
“Companies that manufacture and sell defective bulletproof vests to the government not only cheat the taxpayers, they put the lives of our men and women in law enforcement at risk,” said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will hold accountable those who were aware of the problems with Zylon vests, yet continued to sell them anyway.”
This settlement is part of a larger investigation of the body armor industry’s use of Zylon in body armor. The United States has settled with nine other participants in the Zylon body armor industry for more than $61 million. Additionally, the United States has pending lawsuits against Toyobo Co., the manufacturer of the Zylon fiber, and Honeywell Inc., Second Chance Body Armor Inc. and First Choice Armor Inc., which were involved in the production or sale of Zylon body armor. As part of today’s agreement, Point Blank has pledged cooperation with the United States’ ongoing efforts.
Assistant Attorney General West acknowledged the contributions of the many government agencies assisting the ongoing investigation of those who participated in manufacture and sale of Zylon vests, including 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 Department of the Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division; 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; and the Defense Contracting Audit Agency.