A U.S. military contractor has agreed to pay $5 million to resolve allegations lodged by four whistleblowers that it overbilled the federal government or billed for services it never provided.
Monaco Enterprises Inc., based in Spokane, Washington, installs fire and security alarm systems for industrial and military facilities. The company has contracted with the U.S. government since the 1970s providing security systems to military bases in the U.S. and around the world.
Two whistleblower lawsuits were filed against Monaco Enterprises in 2012, each by a pair of whistleblowers who alleged the company intentionally defrauded the government by overcharging for airfare and preparing false invoices to give to government auditors to cover up its actions.
According to the lawsuit, Monaco Enterprises also told the government it manufactured the video monitors it installed in projects when it actually bought the cameras off the shelf, put Monaco stickers on them, and jacked up the cost to the government by at least 35 percent.
In other cases, the plaintiffs alleged, the company falsely billed the government for certain services that it never performed.
The settlement resolves two complaints filed under the federal False Claims Act by Jason Voss, Drake Osborn, Lisa Osborn, and Maximillian Salazar III, all former Monaco Enterprises employees. The U.S. Department of Justice investigated their claims and chose to intervene, becoming an active litigant in the case.
Whistleblowers whose False Claims Act cases lead to a recovery are awarded 15 to 25 percent of the total recovery. Cases in which the Justice Department declines to intervene may still move forward, and whistleblower awards in such cases can be as high as 30 percent of the total recovery. The whistleblowers in this case will share an award of $1 million.
Source: The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review