United States Reaches Settlements with Three Puerto Rico Entities for Falsely Certifying Small Business Entity Status
False Certifications Led to Reduced Fees Being Paid to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Baltimore, Maryland – Constructora Santiago II, Corp., Centro Cardiovascular and Hospital Del Maestro have agreed to pay $132,000, collectively, to the United States to resolve allegations that each falsely certified to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“NRC”) that it was a small business entity in order to pay reduced nuclear material handling fees.
The settlement agreement was announced today by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Joseph A. McMillan, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, NRC, Office of Inspector General.
“Companies that falsely certify they are small businesses in order to obtain government benefits must be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
“The NRC OIG is committed to identifying anyone that will defraud the Commission regardless of their location. The NRC OIG is thankful to the US Attorney’s Office, Baltimore, MD, for their outstanding support in these investigations,” said Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Joseph A. McMillan.
In order to possess and handle radioactive materials, an entity has to obtain a license from the NRC and pay an annual fee. The NRC permits companies to pay a reduced fee if it qualifies as a small business. In order to certify small business status, a business must “average gross receipts of $7 million or less over its last three completed fiscal years.” Each small business entity is required to complete a form certifying that it meets the criteria to qualify as a small business entity.
According to the settlement agreements, Constructora Santiago II, Corp., Centro Cardiovascular and Hospital Del Maestro falsely certified that each had gross receipts of less than $7 million when the government contends that in fact, all three companies had gross receipts that greatly exceeded $7 million. As a result of their false claims, each of the three entities paid reduced NRC license fees. Each entity has denied the allegations.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the NRC Office of Inspector General, Washington field office for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Thomas F. Corcoran, who handled the case.