Ward Diesel Filter Systems Inc. has agreed to pay the United States $628,000 to resolve allegations that it knowingly submitted false claims to federal agencies under a contract to provide diesel exhaust filtering systems for fire engines through the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule program, the Justice Department announced today.
Ward Diesel, which is headquartered in Elmira, N.Y., manufactures filtering systems for diesel engines on fire trucks. The company had provided the systems to the Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of Interior, as well as the Air Force, Marine Corps and Department of Energy.
Ward Diesel’s contract required it to truthfully provide its commercial pricing information to GSA during the contracting process. The contract required Ward Diesel to identify a group of most-favored customers, and to provide more favorable prices to GSA than it offered to those most-favored customers. In addition, Ward Diesel’s contract with GSA required Ward Diesel to notify GSA of any additional discounts to the most-favored customers during the life of the contract. The United States alleged that Ward Diesel failed to fulfill these obligations, thereby routinely overcharging government agencies that purchased diesel filter systems from Ward Diesel though its GSA contract.
“In these tight times of fiscal responsibility, knowingly overcharging government agencies that are trying to do more with less is particularly inappropriate and harmful to the agencies’ missions,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery. “This resolution demonstrates that the department will vigorously pursue government contractors who overprice their products at the expense of the American taxpayers.”
“This is another example of our commitment to rooting out those who attempt to defraud the government. Companies that choose to do business with the United States must play by the rules. When they fail to do so, this office will do its utmost to enforce the law and protect taxpayers’ money,” said John P. Kacavas, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire.
The government’s investigation of Ward Diesel was initiated by a lawsuit, U.S. ex rel. Siska v. Ward Diesel Filter Systems, Inc., No. 10-0111-JL (D. NH), filed under the False Claims Act’s qui tam or whistleblower provisions, which permit private parties to sue for false claims on behalf of the United States and to share in any recovery. The whistleblower in this case, Ted Siska, will receive $94,200 of the settlement.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery and U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas commended the many agencies that participated in the government’s investigation, including the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire, the Inspector General of the GSA, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, Air Force Criminal Investigation Division, Air Force Office of Special Investigations and Navy Criminal Investigative Service. The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.