Boeing to Pay $8.1 Million to Resolve Alleged False Claims Act Violations Arising from Manufacture of V-22 Osprey Aircraft
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
The Boeing Company will pay $8,100,000 to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by failing to adhere to critical manufacturing specifications in the production of composite parts for V-22 Osprey military aircraft, announced United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero.
The allegations against Boeing were brought to light by three whistleblowers who worked at Boeing’s manufacturing facility in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.
The United States alleges that Boeing falsely certified to the government that it had complied with all manufacturing specifications for the fabrication of certain composite parts for the V-22 Osprey aircraft.
Composite parts for the V-22 Osprey are manufactured using a process that involves curing these parts in autoclaves. The autoclaves are large, precisely controlled chambers that regulate temperature and pressure over the extended period of time required to properly cure composite parts. Every composite part used in the V-22 must be cured at a particular temperature and pressure. The V-22 manufacturing specifications require Boeing to assure the accurate performance of the autoclaves by performing monthly temperature uniformity surveys, among other requirements. Temperature uniformity surveys are intended to verify that an autoclave is performing at expected temperatures or identify when an autoclave deviates from specified temperatures.
The United States contends that Boeing failed to comply with manufacturing specifications for certain V-22 composite parts manufactured at the Ridley Park facility. The government alleges that Boeing failed to conduct routine checks designed to ensure the consistent performance of autoclaves in which composite parts were cured. Specifically, the United States alleges that from 2007 through 2018 Boeing failed to perform monthly temperature uniformity surveys on autoclaves, failed to collect and analyze temperature uniformity survey data on a monthly basis, failed to verify that calibration and certification tags on autoclaves were current, and failed to direct random surveillance of autoclave processes – all in violation of the V-22 manufacturing specifications. The United States further alleges that Boeing failed to use appropriate thermal testing equipment and failed to maintain required documents concerning autoclave testing.
“Taxpayers deserve to get what they pay for, and members of our military deserve to know that no shortcuts have been taken in the manufacture of aircraft and other equipment upon which they depend. My office will continue to investigate vigorously all credible allegations of government contractors cutting corners and submitting false certifications in connection with payments from the Treasury,” said United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Jacqueline C. Romero.
“Maintaining the integrity of the U.S. Department of Defense supply chain is a top priority for the Office of Inspector General’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service. The Department of Defense expects its contractors to adhere strictly to contract specifications when providing products to the U.S. military,” stated Patrick J. Hegarty, Special Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office. Hegarty continued: “We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to investigate allegations of contractors circumventing required testing protocols and submitting false claims during the procurement process.”
“The integrity of the military procurement process, and ultimately warfighter safety and our national security, demand that our contractors comply strictly with manufacturing requirements, including protocols for equipment testing,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Greg Gross of the Navy Criminal Investigative Service Economic Crimes Field Office. “NCIS and our partners remain committed to rooting out any noncompliance with manufacturing specifications that threatens warfighter readiness.”
The False Claims Act provides for whistleblowers to receive a portion of the amount recovered because of their disclosures. In this case, the three whistleblowers collectively will receive $1,539,000 of the settlement proceeds.
The government’s investigation was led by Assistant United States Attorneys Joel M. Sweet and David A. Degnan, Auditor Dawn Wiggins, and Investigator Jeffrey Braun, all of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, along with Trial Attorney Amy Likoff of the U.S. Department of Justice Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section, and Special Agents of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Navy Criminal Investigative Service. The whistleblower lawsuit is captioned United States ex rel. Robert C. Roath, et al. v. The Boeing Company, No. 16-cv-6547 (E.D. Pa.). The whistleblowers are represented by F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, III of Flamm Walton Heimbach and Joseph D. Mancano of Mancano Law, PLLC.
The settlement is not an admission by Boeing that it is liable under the False Claims Act.
Updated September 28, 2023