Construction Firms to Pay to Settle Alleged False Claims in Connection With Colleton County Road Project
Contact Person: James Leventis (803) 929-3000
Columbia, South Carolina ----- The Lane Construction Corporation and McAfee Design and Distributing Co., Inc. have agreed to pay the United States a total of $400,000 to resolve allegations that these companies submitted false claims under the Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, the United States Attorney Bill Nettles announced today.
Lane Construction is the successor in interest to Rea Contracting LLC, a former Charlotte-based civil construction contractor, and is a national civil construction contractor that, amongst other things, contracts with federal and state governments to construct and improve highways in the eastern and southern United States. McAfee Design is a Georgia-based highway heavy contracting company that is qualified as a DBE subcontractor.
The settlement resolves allegations that Rea Contracting falsely claimed that McAfee Design, a certified DBE, had performed demolition and concrete work that was to be performed by a DBE when it knew or should have known that McAfee Design actually subcontracted the work to non-DBE contractors. These allegations involved a federally-funded highway construction project in Colleton County, South Carolina. All qualifying bids were required to designate a percentage of work that would be performed by a DBE. The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program was designed to provide women and minority contractors, who have faced historical barriers to entry in the construction industry, with fair opportunities to compete for federally-funded work.
“The District of South Carolina continues to devote significant resources to pursuing claims under the False Claims Act, and this settlement is yet another in a long string of successes,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina William Nettles.
This civil settlement resolves a lawsuit filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provision of the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens with knowledge of false claims to bring civil actions on behalf of the government and to share in any recovery. The relator’s share in this case is $80,000. The qui tam lawsuit was filed in the District of South Carolina and is captioned United States ex rel. Michael S. Johnson and Greg Smith v. Rea Contracting LLC a/k/a Lane Carolinas Corporation, McAfee Design and Distributing Co., Inc., et al., Case Number 3:12-cv-3651. The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.
The settlement with Lane Construction and McAfee Design was the result of a coordinated effort among the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina, the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, and the South Carolina Department of Transportation.