Jacksonville Contractor Agrees To Pay $500,000 To Settle False Claims Act Liability
Orlando, FL – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that Sunrise Systems of Brevard, Inc. has agreed to pay the United States $500,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims for government funds in violations of Small Business Administration regulations.
The settlement relates to a Small Business Administration (SBA) grant for a NASA demolition project. The SBA provides opportunities and grants to minority owned small businesses to partner as joint ventures with larger businesses, such as Sunrise. According to the settlement agreement, from December 10, 2013, through February 9, 2016, Sunrise partnered with a minority-owned small business, V&R Enterprises of Jacksonville, Inc., but violated the SBA’s labor and work performance requirements in order to access SBA set-aside funds. The government alleged that Sunrise performed nearly all of the work on the joint venture project and received nearly all of the profits, in violation of the law.
“Violating SBA regulations harms small business and hampers economic growth,” said U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to enforcing federal law to ensure a fair playing field for all government contractors.”
This settlement resulted from a coordinated effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, NASA - Office of Inspector General, the United States Department of Labor - Office of Inspector General, and the Small Business Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy R. Bloor led the investigation.
The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.