Sikorsky Aircraft Pays $2.9 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations
WASHINGTON —Sikorsky Aircraft Company, a division of United Technologies Corporation, has agreed to pay the United States $2,941,000 to resolve fraud allegations in connection with its contract for the manufacture of Black Hawk helicopters for the Army, the Justice Department announced today.
Sikorsky, located in Stratford, Conn., manufactures the Black Hawk or variations of the Black Hawk for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, as well as for other nations. Under Sikorsky’s contract with the Army, Sikorsky was required to install armored plates in the Black Hawk to the left of the pilot and to the right of the co-pilot that were ballistically tested to ensure that the helicopters could withstand combat. The United States alleged that from 1991 to 2006, Sikorsky knowingly installed armored plates purchased from Ceradyne Corporation of Costa Mesa, Calif., that had not been ballistically tested as required under the contract. The Army knows of no injuries resulting from the untested plates. Under the False Claims Act, a contractor who knowingly claims payment for noncompliant goods is liable for three times the Government’s damages plus a $5,500 to $11,000 civil penalty for each false claim.
"This settlement sends a message that fraud, especially when it concerns the safety of our men and women in uniform, cannot and will not be tolerated in Government contracts," said Michael F. Hertz, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. "As demonstrated here, the Department, including the United States Attorneys’ offices, and investigative agencies such as the ones here, are committed to rooting out such fraud and prosecuting it."
"It is critically important that manufacturers perform all required testing of parts for equipment being used by our military personnel," stated John B. Hughes, Chief of the Civil Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut. "The U.S. Attorney’s Office takes these matters very seriously and we will do all that we can to ensure the safety of the men and women in the military."
The investigation was conducted by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Army Criminal Investigative Division, Defense Contract Audit Agency, and Defense Contract Management Agency, in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut.