Settlement Reached In Fraud Lawsuit Against Sapulpa Company
TULSA, Okla.—Danny C. Williams Sr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma, announced today that H&R Enterprises, LLC has agreed to pay $6,500 in civil penalties to settle allegations of violating the Buy American Act (BAA) and submitting false claims to the United States, in violation of the False Claims Act.
In December 2009, H&R Enterprises, LLC, based in Sapulpa, OK, submitted a bid on a construction project for rehabilitating and painting multiple storage tanks in the City of Dimmitt, Texas that was funded by the Stimulus Act and administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. In order to ensure compliance with the BAA, H&R was required to submit documentation, known as BAA Certificates, certifying that the materials to be used on the project were manufactured in the United States.
The United States Attorney’s Office brought a lawsuit against H&R under the False Claims Act. The suit alleged that steel reinforcing plates used by H&R were not manufactured in the U.S. and that the BAA Certificates submitted by H&R for the steel plates were falsified in that they contained fictitious names and forged signatures of personnel of the American companies from which the steel plates were purportedly acquired; the notary stamps on the Certificates were counterfeited; and the notary’s names were forged.
“This settlement demonstrates a commitment to ensuring individuals and companies that do business with the Government, and receive taxpayer money, comply with the law. We will investigate and prosecute violators, regardless of the monetary value of the violation,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “We encourage the public to report individuals and companies that are committing fraud or otherwise violating the law concerning Government contracts.”
The Buy American Act was codified in the depression era during the time of the New Deal to help American companies. The Act established a general preference for the use of materials manufactured in the United States on public works projects funded by the U.S. Government. Contractors on public works projects are required to certify the materials used are manufactured in the United States.
Assistant United States Attorney Marianne Hardcastle represented the United States and the investigation was conducted by Agent Edwin Debiew, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations.