In December 2008, Geoffrey Willson, a former contract manager for Lucent Technologies World Services, Inc. (Lucent Tech), filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Lucent Tech alleging that the company violated the False Claims Act by submitting misleading testing certifications to the U.S. Army related to its work on Iraq’s emergency communications system. According to the Justice Department, Lucent Tech, an Alcatel-Lucent subsidiary, has agreed to pay $4.2 million to settle the claims.
The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act allow individual whistleblowers to sue those who submit false claims to the U.S. government. If the lawsuit is successful, the whistleblower is entitled to share with the federal government in the proceeds. Mr. Willson will receive $758,000 from the settlement.
Whistleblower Alleged that Defense Contractor Violated False Claims Act
The U.S. Army awarded Lucent Technologies a $250 million contract in 2004 to build the Advanced First Responder Network in Iraq. This 911 emergency response and first responder communications system was intended to enable Iraqis to summon medical assistance, police and firefighters in emergencies.
Mr. Willson, who was the Lucent Tech senior contract manager on the project, alleged that Lucent Technologies violated the False Claims Act when it submitted fraudulent claims for payment for services and equipment that were based on false certifications. The contract required Lucent Tech to certify that it had performed certain tests and validated the whole network before it was accepted by the U.S. Army and transferred to the Iraqi government. Lucent Tech submitted certifications that it had successfully completed the required testing and validation of the network, but those representations were untrue.
Whistleblowers Are Important Partners in Fighting Defense Contract Fraud
In order to stop defense contract fraud, federal authorities often need to rely on whistleblowers, and the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act provide incentives for whistleblowers to come forward.
Whistleblowers should know their legal rights under the False Claims Act. The highly skilled attorneys at Waters & Kraus have extensive experience working with whistleblowers and are ready to help you in this process. Contact us or call our whistleblower attorneys at 800.226.9880 to learn more about our practice and how we can assist.