On Sept. 23, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the government has intervened in a False Claims Act (FCA) case against Energy & Process Corporation (E&P). The complaint alleges that E&P knowingly supplied defective rebar for the construction of a Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear waste treatment facility. This act of fraud not only steals from the American taxpayers, but also, due to the nature of the project, places the public at risk.
When construction suppliers are paid premiums from government contracts to meet higher safety standards, those construction suppliers must ensure their goods meet those standards. When the supplier represents their goods as being compliant with applicable safety standards, knowing the goods fail to meet those standards, that is called fraud. Moreover, it is defrauding the government, which violates the FCA.
The lawsuit against E&P alleges the DOE paid E&P a premium to supply rebar that met strict safety standards and that E&P failed to execute the test required to ensure their rebar met those standards – even though E&P certified the rebar as being compliant. The complaint further alleges, as a result of the fraud, one-third of the rebar supplied by E&P and used in the construction of the nuclear waste treatment facility was defective.
Concerning this case, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, stated, “When contractors cut corners, they not only cheat American taxpayers, but they also can put public safety at risk, particularly when their misconduct affects a facility that houses and processes nuclear materials.”
The lawsuit against E&P was filled under the qui tam provision of the FCA by Deborah Cook, a former employee of E&P. The qui tam provision allows individuals, like Cook, to file suit on behalf of the government by becoming a whistleblower. Under the FCA, Cook is entitled to certain incentives including retaliation protection and 15 to 30 percent of the monies recovered by the government.
Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, the FCA can protect and reward you for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, please contact an attorney at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on this website, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould or Andrew Brashier.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice