Settlement Reached in Patriots Park Renovations Civil Case
Two Local Construction Companies Will Pay $400,000 to Settle False Claims Act Allegations
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Lend Lease Construction, Inc., a global company locally based in Rockville, Maryland, and Cindell Construction Company, based in Frederick, Maryland, agreed to pay a total of $400,000 to settle False Claims Act allegations in connection with an agreement to perform construction work to renovate a property the government is currently leasing in Reston, Virginia known as “Patriots Park.”
“We encourage whistleblowers to come forward in instances where the government is a victim,” said Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This case exemplifies the important role whistleblowers can play in recovering money for the government.”
The purpose of the construction work was to make the property at Patriots Park compliant with General Services Administration (GSA) and Department of Defense security regulations and requirements. Pursuant to the lease agreement, the construction work on the Patriots Park project is subject to the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA). The Davis-Bacon Act requires government contractors to pay the prevailing wage to workers as set by the Secretary of Labor for the corresponding class of laborers and mechanics in the state in which they are employed. The CWHSSA requires that workers be compensated at time and a half their prevailing wage rate for all hours worked over 40 hours per week for contracts subject to the prevailing wage. Lend Lease was hired by the owner of the property to provide construction management services; Lend Lease, in turn, subcontracted with Cindell to perform drywall installation.
The United States will receive $400,000 to settle allegations that Lend Lease and Cindell submitted false claims to the government after lower-tier subcontractors hired by Cindell underpaid workers and failed to compensate the workers properly for overtime hours despite certifying compliance on weekly certified payrolls.
The investigation was initiated after a lawsuit was filed under the qui tam or whistleblowerprovisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private parties to sue on behalf of the government when they believe that defendants submitted false claims for government funds and to receive a share of any recovery. The False Claims Act permits the government time to investigate allegations in qui tam complaints and to intervene in such lawsuits, when the government deems it appropriate. The whistleblower will receive $72,000 from the settlement.
This resolution in this matter was the result of a coordinated effort between the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the GSA Office of Inspector General. The matter was investigated by Assistant United States Attorney Monika Moore and former Special Assistant United States Attorney Erin Murdock-Park. 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. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:12-cv-1170.