A former employee of a U.S. military contractor will receive a whistleblower award of nearly $800,000 for tipping off the U.S. government about billing fraud he alleged his employer, L-3 Communications Corporation, engaged in to boost its own income.
Robert Martin sued L-3 Communications Corp. and its units Vertex Aerospace LLC and L-3 Communications Integrated Systems LP (collectively L-3) under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which authorize private individuals to sue on behalf of the U.S. government when they have solid, original information and evidence of fraud committed against federal agencies and programs.
The U.S. Department of Justice backed Mr. Martin’s lawsuit, which alleged L-3 Communications inflated the number of hours its independent contractors worked at Continental U.S. Replacement Centers (CRCs) in Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Bliss, Texas, preparing to deploy overseas to support U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
CRCs provide orientation briefings, training, health screenings, payroll processing, and other administrative services to assist individuals preparing for deployment overseas.
L-3 performed aviation maintenance and support services for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and Kuwait under contracts with the U.S. Air Force. The United States alleges that from 2006 through November 2011, L-3 knowingly overcharged the government for time their independent contractors spent at the CRCs.
L-3 accomplished this, the complaint alleged, by billing for each person not based on the actual time that he or she spent working at the CRC but based instead on the earliest arrival or latest departure time of any other individual who also processed through the center that same day.
“Contractors owe a duty to the taxpayers to accurately bill the United States for the actual work performed,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn of the Northern District of Georgia, who helped prosecute the case. “This settlement demonstrates our commitment to hold contractors accountable for false billing and restore wrongfully taken funds to the military.”
Mr. Martin will receive $798,675 for his role in helping the U.S. government recover taxpayer funds, about 17 percent of the entire recovery.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice