PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Wescott Electric Company (“Wescott”), of Aston, PA, has agreed to pay $54,983 and implement enhanced compliance measures to resolve claims arising from its use of Chinese-made parts during a fire alarm installation and renovation project at Amtrak’s William H. Gray 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, PA.
Companies contracting with Amtrak are responsible for complying with a federal regulation which establishes a preference for using American-made parts when fulfilling those contracts. The United States alleges that Wescott neither determined that its parts were American-made nor worked through Amtrak’s process for obtaining a waiver to this rule. The renovation at William H. Gray 30th Street Station was funded by a grant from the United States Department of Transportation.
“Amtrak and the Department of Transportation have established a preference to support American jobs by using American-made parts, and taxpayers have a right to know that policy is being honored,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “If contractors believe that doing so is impossible, they have a responsibility to raise the issue with contracting officers openly and to work with government authorities on a mutually agreeable resolution.”
“The Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG), along with our prosecutorial and law enforcement partners, is committed to protecting the integrity of the Federal procurement process and ensuring that government contractors comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including the Buy American and Trade Agreements Acts,” said Brian Gallagher, DOT-OIG Acting Special Agent in Charge Northeastern Region. “Today’s resolution is a testament to that commitment.”
“The American people deserve fair and honest services from Amtrak contractors, and this includes adhering to laws which require them to use American-made products to the greatest extent reasonable, consistent with public interest,” said Michael Waters, Special Agent in Charge of Amtrak OIG’s Northeast Field Office. “This settlement underscores our commitment to protect Amtrak funds, American taxpayers, and the traveling public, and we appreciate the seamless collaboration with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Department of Transportation OIG throughout this investigation.”
Acting United States Attorney Williams also highlighted Wescott’s agreement to enhance its compliance program: “Wescott reacted promptly to the government’s investigation and cooperated fully, taking serious steps to make sure this issue never recurs. We hope Wescott’s compliance measures will be a model for other grantees and contractors looking to meet their responsibilities to the United States.”
This investigation was conducted as part of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Strike Force’s procurement fraud initiative with investigators from Amtrak Office of Inspector General and the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Paul W. Kaufman of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania handled the investigation and settlement.
The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.