Defense Contractor Settles Charges Related to Fighter Jet EFT Contracts

July 9, 2013 — Government contractors who file false claims with the federal government—for example, by not complying with the quality control provisions of their contracts—violate the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act allows tipsters and informants to collaborate with the government to fight fraud. The qui tam provisions of the statute permit financial rewards to whistleblowers.

General Electric Aviation Systems Will Pay Feds $6.58 Million to Settle False Claims Act Charges

Ohio-based General Electric Aviation Systems (GEAS) has agreed that it will pay $6.58 million to resolve charges that it submitted false claims to the federal government in connection with a number of Department of Defense contracts, according to the Justice Department. GEAS makes integrated systems and components for corporate, commercial, military and marine aircraft.

GEAS agreed to manufacture and provide to the Navy external fuel tanks (EFTs) to be used on the F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter jet. In March 2008, an EFT manufactured by GEAS failed government testing. Because GEAS built the EFTs at its Santa Ana plant, the failure triggered a multi-year investigation by the Defense Contract Management Agency’s local California offices, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and the Navy Criminal Investigative Service. Based on that investigation, the U.S. government charged GEAS with knowingly failing to comply with specifications of the contracts and failing to undertake appropriate quality control procedures in the manufacture of 641 EFTs the company delivered to the U.S. Navy from June 2005 to February 2008.

U.S. attorney André Birotte, Jr. stressed the importance of testing and quality control procedures required by the U.S. military to protect the lives and safety of service members and called the case “a warning to any government contractor who thinks it can cut corners.”

The allegations concerning GEAS’s misconduct were part of a lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Adler, a former employee at GEAS’s Santa Ana facility. Mr. Adler filed the lawsuit under the qui tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act, which allow whistleblowers to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States and share in the proceeds of any settlement or judgment.

Defense Contract Insider Took Standard Against Fraud

Insiders like Mr. Adler need to understand their rights under the False Claims Act and the benefits they can receive by collaborating with the government. The qui tam lawyers at Waters & Kraus share their skills and experience with whistleblowers every day. Contact us by email or phone our whistleblower attorneys at 855.784.0268 to discover how we can assist and guide you in this process.

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