The U.S. government has reached a $1.5 million civil settlement with CH2M Hill, Inc., resolving a False Claims Act complaint that alleged the company overbilled Amtrak and the federal government, which partially funds the railroad.
CH2M, a global engineering company that provides consulting, design, construction, and operations services for corporations and all level of governments, entered into a Joint Venture Project Management Oversight (PMO) agreement with Amtrak. The Colorado-based engineering company provided project management expertise and functions on several Amtrak construction projects throughout the eastern U.S.
According to Louis Lappen, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the PMO contract required CH2M to bill Amtrak and the U.S government for actual labor and overhead rates for the employees working on the various projects.
However, an audit of CH2M’s billings showed discrepancies that prompted federal officials to investigate. The audit triggered a probe that found from Jan. 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2014, CH2M billed overhead at the maximum rate listed in the Joint Venture PMO contract without adjusting the overhead rate to actual costs incurred.
The government also contends that CH2M billed the government for employees of another, lower overhead unit of CH2M called CH2M HILL Constructors Inc. as if they were employees of the higher overhead CH2M. The government also alleged that CH2M overbilled for field employees at higher rates than it should have.
The case was investigated by Amtrak and the Department of Transportation’s Offices of Inspector General, prompting the government to persecute CH2M for False Claims Act violations.