Massachusetts Defense Subcontractor to Resolve False Claims Concerning “Made-In-America” Contract Requirements
BOSTON – A Massachusetts company, Trendware Marketing, LLC, a supplier of components for military boots, has entered into an agreement with the United States to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act when it did not comply with the Department of Defense’s (DOD) made-in-America requirements.
Trendware will pay $600,000 to resolve the government’s claim that it violated the Berry Amendment in connection with DOD contracts for military combat boots. The Berry Amendment requires that certain items purchased by the DOD, including military boots and boot hardware, be wholly of United States origin. The government alleges that, although Trendware certified that it was in compliance with the Berry Amendment, the footwear components provided by the company for military boots were not manufactured within the United States. Trendware’s certifications of compliance were false and misleading. This resolution seeks to strip Trendware of its unfair price advantage in competing for military contracts by using non-American-made products and undercutting its competitors.
“Trendware falsely claimed that all of its products were made in America, and thereby ensured that it won government contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “These false claims not only deprived the United States military of the products it required, but deprived other honest businesspeople of a fair shot at this government contract.”
“Second only to our servicemen and women in the defense of this great nation is the vital importance of our technology and equipment,” said Frank Robey, Director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “Whether it’s a main battle tank or the boots that go on the feet of our troops, we have to be absolutely certain that we are getting what we pay for—there can be no doubt or room for error when lives are literally at risk on the battlefield. We owe nothing less than that to our servicemembers, and our CID special agents are fully committed to ensuring that the government and the Army get what they pay for.”
“Ensuring our servicemen and women are outfitted with the proper equipment procured through a fair and honest acquisition process is essential,” said Craig W. Rupert, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Field Office, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General. “DCIS continues working with our law enforcement partners to shield America’s investment in national defense from the manipulation of the procurement process by unscrupulous contractors.”
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sonya A. Rao of Ortiz’s Civil Division.