WASHINGTON – The United States has reached a settlement with Rocky Mountain Instrument Company (RMI) to resolve claims that the manufacturer violated the False Claims Act, the Justice Department announced today. The Lafayette, Colo.-based company is alleged to have submitted claims for payment to various Defense Department prime contractors. The contractors, it is alleged, in turn claimed reimbursement from the government for optical and laser products manufactured overseas using sensitive technical data exported by RMI in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
On June 23, 2009, RMI, a manufacturer of optical components used in laser and imaging applications, filed a petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado. To settle the False Claims Act allegations, RMI has agreed to pay the United States $1 million as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. This amount is in addition to a $1 million criminal forfeiture and five year probationary term ordered in connection with RMI’s June 22, 2010, plea of guilty to knowingly and willfully exporting defense articles without a license in United States v. Rocky Mountain Instrument Company, 10-cr-00139-WYD-01 (D. Colo.).
"Some foreign countries and terrorist organizations are actively seeking sensitive U.S. technology and equipment to advance their weapons systems and other programs," said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. "We are committed to vigorous enforcement of our export control laws, all of which are designed to keep America’s critical technology from falling into the wrong hands."
"Rocky Mountain Instrument Company deals in sensitive technology and equipment, some of which is being used in Iraq and Afghanistan," said John Walsh, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado. "Companies involved in exporting sensitive technology should take note that if they violate the law there will be financial consequences."
This case was investigated as part of a National Procurement Fraud Initiative. In October 2006, the Deputy Attorney General announced the formation of a National Procurement Fraud Task Force designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity for national security and other government programs. The Procurement Fraud Task Force is chaired by the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division and includes the Civil Division, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the FBI, the U.S. Inspectors General community and a number of other federal law enforcement agencies. This case, as well as others brought by members of the task force, demonstrate the Justice Department’s commitment to helping ensure the integrity of the government procurement process.