Government Settles False Claims Act Allegations Against Guam-Based Construction Company For $285,000
ALICIA A.G. LIMTIACO, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that the United States of America, on behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“U.S. EPA”), secured $285,000 in settlement of a civil lawsuit against GRH Technologies Construction Co., Ltd. (“GRH”), and GRH’s Treasurer, Chen Pei SU (“SU”). The lawsuit alleged that GRH and SU committed a violation of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq., when they submitted a fraudulent claim for reimbursement under a contract funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”) between Guam Waterworks Authority and GRH for services including leak detection, pipeline, location, mapping, leak control, and related training. GRH and SU submitted a claim for reimbursement of $117,912, which GRH and SU purport was used to purchase equipment from a Taiwan-based company. However, the check used to pay the Taiwan-based company was never negotiated and GRH and SU could not produce evidence that such payment was made. The lawsuit sought triple damages and civil penalties from GRH and SU.
The United States settled the False Claims Act lawsuit with GRH and SU for $285,000. Upon collecting the $285,000 in settlement funds, the United States dismissed its claims on August 8, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Alicia A.G. Limtiaco stated, “False claims to the United States government have
an effect on all its citizens and on the agencies that serve those citizens. They affect not only the particular agency to whom the specific act was committed, but in the aggregate they affect the overall vitality of government programs and contracts and detract from the millions of Americans who could benefit from those programs. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands and federal agencies in this region, most specifically in this case the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, continue to aggressively enforce the False Claims Act against those that violate the public trust and misuse public funds.”
This case was investigated by the U.S. EPA and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mikel W. Schwab and Jessica F. Cruz.