The Latest in Qui Tam: DOE Contractors Bechtel & Aecom Pay Over $57 Million to Settle Whistleblower Complaint
In recent False Claims Act news, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington announced in a press release published in late September that the Department of Energy (DOE) contractors agreed to settle whistleblower allegations by paying over $57 million. According to the press release, four relators filed a whistleblower complaint in 2017 under seal in the U.S. District Court (EDWA) alleging DOE contractors Bechtel National Inc., Bechtel Corporation (Bechtel) and AECOM Energy & Construction, Inc. (AECOM) were falsely billing the DOE for work not performed.
To read the EWDA’s full press release regarding the matter, click here. Below, the Baltimore qui tam attorneys at Peter Angelos P.C. discuss the details of the whistleblower complaint and the hefty settlement paid out by two significant DOE contractors regarding the allegations.
Four Employees Make a Whistleblower Complaint in 2017, File Under Seal
According to the EWDA, a total of four government energy and construction contractor employees filed a qui tam lawsuit under seal, alleging that their employers Bechtel and AECOM acted fraudulently when billing their DOE for years for work that was not being performed. In fact, the whistleblower complaint alleged that the two contractors were aware of the inflated hours of work charged to the DOE, but failed to prevent or cease these charges.
Government Contractors Admit to Billing False Time Worked for a Decade
Bechtel and AECOM had been contracted by the DOE to build a multi-billion dollar radioactive Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) in Richland, Washington in 2001. Between 2009 and 2019, the government contractors had admitted they were aware they were billing the DOE for idle hours and failed to stop this practice. According to the press release, they also admitted “to failing to schedule and carry out adequate work to keep craft personnel sufficiently occupied and productive, resulting in excessive idle time.” This resulted in four relators speaking out against the fraudulent mishandling of the contract with the DOE and a decade of fabricated billing.
DOE Contractors Ultimately Pay $57,750,000 to Settle Allegations
On September 22, 2020, and after three years of investigations, the contractors agreed to settle the allegations by paying a hefty fee totaling $57,750,000. The companies have also entered a three-year independent corporate monitor agreement where they will pay for two full-time independent monitors to have access to their meetings and other processes. If the contracting companies violate the terms of their independent monitoring agreement, they face an additional $10 million charge.
The Baltimore Qui Tam Attorneys at Peter Angelos P.C. Have a Tradition of Service
The skilled False Claims Act attorneys at Peter Angelos P.C. always encourage whistleblowers with insider knowledge of corporate wrongdoings to report the fraudulent behavior to the United States government. Just as the four whistleblowers in this case of negligent DOE contractors and their inflated billing, you have the capability to uncover fraud against the government and receive a hefty reward in return. The Baltimore qui tam attorneys at Peter Angelos P.C. have extensive experience representing whistleblowers as they pursue justice for corporate fraud. If you are aware of fraudulent activity perpetrated against an entity of the United States government, reach out to our Baltimore office today by calling (410)-649-2000 or contacting us here: https://www.angeloslaw.com/contact/.