A Virginia-based moving management company has agreed to pay the U.S. government nearly $510,000 to resolve a whistleblower’s allegations that it overbilled the government for moving services it provided to federal employees being relocated.
RE/MAX Allegiance Relocation Services was sued under the federal False Claims Act by Michael Angel, a former employee. Mr. Angel filed his lawsuit in federal court in Alexandria, Va., alleging the company charged the government for moving services that it never provided and overbilled federal agencies by adding inapplicable tariff charges.
RE/MAX Allegiance contracts with the U.S. government to move the personal property of federal employees between U.S. states and between the U.S. and Canada.
Mr. Angel will receive 17 percent of the recovery – $86,667 – for his role in exposing the alleged fraud. Whistleblowers who sue under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows individuals to sue on behalf of the U.S. government when they have original, credible evidence of fraud and other wrongdoing, can receive between 15 and 30 percent of any recovery the government makes in the case.
The False Claims Act also allows the U.S. government to intervene and take over litigating a whistleblower lawsuit, as it did in Mr. Angel’s case.
“We encourage whistleblowers to provide us with useful information to help us combat all manners of fraud on the U.S. Government,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente.
Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery said that the settlement “demonstrates (the Justice Department’s) continuing vigilance to ensure that those doing business with the government do so legally and honestly and that taxpayer funds are not misused.”