Jett Industries Pays $500,000 To Settle Civil Fraud Allegations
Colliersville Contractor Accepts Responsibility for Submission of False Certification to EPA in Connection With Construction of a Water Pump Station in the Village of Briarcliff Manor
ALBANY, NEW YORK – United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr. announced today that Jett Industries, Inc. (Jett) has paid the United States $500,000 to settle allegations that Jett violated the False Claims Act by falsely certifying compliance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) in connection with a federally-funded contract it performed for the Village of Briarcliff Manor. Jett, a Colliersville-based general contractor, specializes in the construction and modification of water and wastewater treatment facilities.
In January 2009, Jett was awarded a contract to construct a water pump station for the Village of Briarcliff Manor (the Project). A component of the Project was a bladder surge tank, which was to be made, in part, of steel. Prior to the date Jett began construction on the Project, the company knew that it would be paid with Recovery Act funds and, as such, any steel used on the Project was required to be produced in the United States. As time went on, several Jett employees learned that the tank Jett ordered had been manufactured in France, and those same employees expressed concern amongst one another that installation of a French-manufactured tank on the Project may violate the Recovery Act’s “Buy American” provision. Nevertheless, Jett accepted delivery of and decided to install the non-compliant tank on the Project. A Jett employee later used a Jett computer to create a certification, purportedly from the tank’s manufacturer, which falsely asserted that the French-made tank had been manufactured in the United States. That same day, the same Jett employee sent the false certification to a consultant for the Village of Briarcliff Manor, falsely representing that the Project was compliant with the Recovery Act, so that Jett could obtain payment for the Project.
As part of the settlement, Jett admitted, acknowledged, and accepted responsibility for its actions, including an admission that one of its former employees created a false certification, and caused a third party to present that false certification to EPA, “to cover up Jett’s violation” of the requirement that all steel goods used on the Project be produced in the United States. Jett also agreed as part of the settlement to work with the Village of Briarcliff Manor to bring the Project into compliance with the Recovery Act.
United States Attorney Hartunian said: “Protecting taxpayer dollars is one of our core priorities. Companies that do business with the government must do so honestly, or suffer the consequences. The Recovery Act was designed to stimulate our Nation’s economy in the wake of an economic crisis unlike any since the Great Depression, and we will continue to pursue vigilantly those who misuse funds designated for that purpose. With today’s settlement, Jett has accepted responsibility for its misconduct and has agreed to fix a problem it alone created.”
“The American people trust that the laws of their land will be followed or, when they are not, violations will be rectified,” said EPA Inspector General Elkins. “This settlement is the result of a careful investigation and an excellent working relationship between the EPA Office of Inspector General and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York. I am most appreciative of that office’s support and look forward to working together in the future to ensure that public funds are used as intended.”
The investigation and settlement were the result of a coordinated effort between the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and EPA’s Office of Inspector General, with assistance from officials with the Village of Briarcliff Manor. The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Adam J. Katz.