Former Savannah River Site Subcontract Employee Agrees to Settle Fraud Allegations
Contact Person: James Leventis (803) 929-3000
COLUMBIA, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that George Michael Goldston, a former subcontract employee at the Savannah River Site in Aiken, has agreed to a monetary settlement with the government to resolve allegations that he claimed more than $33,000 in fraudulent per diem expenses paid by the Department of Energy during his employment at the Savannah River Site in violation of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729, et. seq. A portion of the money paid to Mr. Goldston was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Mr. Goldston has agreed to pay a total of $ 58,000.00 in damages and penalties to settle the case.
Subcontract employees temporarily working at the Savannah River Site may be eligible for reimbursement for per diem expenses like lodging at a hotel. The United States alleged that Mr. Goldston, a Senior Principal Scientist from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, was not incurring lodging expenses as he had certified because he was in fact staying rent-free with his brother. The United States further alleged that Mr. Goldston submitted a fictitious rental agreement and post-dated dummy rental checks when asked for evidence that he was incurring lodging expenses.
The False Claims Act is one of the federal government’s primary weapons to redress fraud against government programs. The Act entitles the government to treble damages in addition to civil penalties.
Mr. Nettles stated, “Working together with the Department of Energy, we will continue to actively pursue civil remedies against any contractors who try to get away with cheating the government.” The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Inspector General and handled by James Leventis and Fran Trapp of the United States Attorney’s Office.