L3 Technologies to pay $21.8M False Claims Act Settlement
A military equipment manufacturer has agreed to pay $21.8 million to resolve allegations of submitting false claims to the Department of Defense (DOD). L3 Technologies, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ), knowingly double-billed the DOD for common parts such as nuts, bolts, and other items in multiple contracts between 2008 and 2011.
The DOJ settlement, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, also includes the agency paying nearly $8 million to settle a lawsuit filed by L3 against the DOD for breach of contract. The lawsuit claimed that the DOD wrongly restricted L3 from charging certain costs in an attempt to prevent double-billing.
The nuts and bolts in question were used alongside recording equipment and a compact video receiver to transmit real-time data from battlefields. Normally, these common parts are not billed as separate items but are instead accounted for through a combined cost factor. However, L3 allegedly billed the DOD twice for the parts, once through the cost factor and again as individual items, which the DOJ claims violated the False Claims Act.
Whistleblower attorney Jason T. Brown, head of the firm Brown, LLC commented, “The nuts and bolts of the False Claims Act are typified by this complaint in which the defendant allegedly double charged for nuts and bolts. In the past there was the cliché that the government would pay $1,000 for a screw which would also potentially have implications with the Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA), but at least the extent of the alleged exploitation herein is considerably less. But little things add up and under the False Claims Act a whistleblower who exposed this alleged conduct would be eligible for over $6 million as a whistleblower award.”