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Press Release

Government Contractor Supplying Explosive Detection Canines at U.S. Embassy Settles FCA Allegations Regarding Deficient Training

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – SOC LLC, located in Chantilly, has agreed to pay $259,353.60 to settle False Claims Act (FCA) allegations that canine handlers, employed by SOC under a State Department contract, reported time training canines when, in actuality, training had not taken place or the training did not occur for the time reported to the government.

The settlement arises in connection with a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provision of the FCA by a former SOC canine handler, United States ex rel. Morris v. SOC LLC, et al. Under the Worldwide Protective Service (WPS) II contract awarded to SOC by the U.S. Department of State, SOC supplied explosive sniffing canines and canine handlers at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. The WPS II contract required the canines to receive four hours of explosive proficiency training weekly with their handlers. The settlement resolves allegations that SOC handlers and trainers violated the FCA by falsely reporting the requisite four hours of weekly proficiency training regardless of whether training happened that week or fell short of the four-hour requirement.    

A whistleblower suit, or qui tam action under the False Claims Act, is commenced by an individual, known as a “relator,” filing a complaint under seal in the U.S. District Court, and providing a copy of the complaint and evidence to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The United States then has an opportunity to investigate the claims. The False Claims Act provides whistleblowers with a share of the government’s recovery. The relator here will receive a share of this settlement.

The resolutions obtained in this matter were the result of a coordinated effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General.

The matter was investigated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin Starr. The civil claims settled by this False Claims Act agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of civil liability.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information from the civil lawsuit can be accessed on PACER by searching for No. 1:21-cv-327.

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Updated August 10, 2023