A whistleblower lawsuit, filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, has led to a $5 million settlement between Texas-based ReadyOne Industries Inc. and the Justice Department. The whistleblower, Michael Ahumada, was a former employee of ReadyOne, previously the National Center for Employment of the Disabled (NCED).
ReadyOne Knowingly Submitted False Certifications to AbilityOne Program
ReadyOne has agreed to settle claims that it knowingly submitted false certifications to the AbilityOne® Program concerning the annual percentages of direct labor hours that were performed by individuals with severe disabilities. ReadyOne employees disabled individuals through the AbilityOne Program to manufacture boxes, apparel, and other products.
The AbilityOne Program creates employment opportunities for individuals who are blind or have other disabilities in manufacturing and delivering products and services to the U.S. government. The program is considered an important source of employment for those who are blind or confront other serious disabilities. Participating members of the AbilityOne program must certify that 75 percent of annual direct labor hours on particular government contracts are performed by individuals who are blind or otherwise severely disabled. Federal prosecutors have alleged that, from 2000 to 2006, NCED employed a significant percentage of non-disabled employees for work on government contracts and did not properly account for their hours in the overall ratios that the company certified and submitted to the AbilityOne Program.
Whistleblowers Help Fight Fraud Against the Government
The government provides valuable services to our most vulnerable, and when some take advantage of those services to enrich themselves fraudulently, we all suffer. Information provided by whistleblowers can help stop this costly fraud, and so the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act allow whistleblowers to file a lawsuit against the wrongdoers and to receive a share of any funds recovered.
The highly skilled attorneys at Waters & Kraus have extensive experience working with whistleblowers and can guide you in the process. Contact us or call our whistleblower attorneys at 800.226.9880 to learn more about our practice and how we can assist.