Archive for January, 2016

URS E&C to Pay $9 Million to Settle False Claims Act and Foreign Assistance Act Allegations

Friday, January 15th, 2016

The United States has secured a $9 million settlement from URS E&C Holdings, Inc., a successor in interest to Washington Group International, Inc., to resolve False Claims Act allegations. According to the settlement, Washington Group International, Inc., a global design and construction company, was awarded contracts in the 1990s by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the construction of water and wastewater infrastructure projects in the Arab Republic of Egypt. The contracts were awarded to a joint venture partnership between Washington Group, Contrak Internation Inc., and Misr Sons Development S.A., an Egyptian company. However, the United States alleges that USAID did not know the identity of Washington Group International’s joint venture partners at the time of the contract award. As a result, USAID was not able to evaluate the partners’ eligibility and qualifications, a precondition to the contract award. The United States filed suit in the Northern District of Idaho in 2004 under the False Claims Act and the Foreign Assistance Act. Contrak previously settled allegations arising from the suit for $3.5 million in 2013 and the United States continues to pursue allegations against Misr Sons. The settlement is based on allegations and does not determine liability.

Wisconsin Construction Company Will Pay $3 Million for Violating “Buy American” Rules

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Novum Structures LLC, a Wisconsin based construction company, has agreed to pay a $3 million fine and enter a guilty plea for violating the “Buy America” provisions of contracts for federally funded construction projects.    This includes a $500,000 criminal fine and $2.5 million to resolve civil allegations under the FCA that it submitted false claims for payment on several projects between January 1, 2004 and July 11, 2013.  Novum also allegedly repackaged materials, falsified documents to conceal the use of noncompliant foreign materials and demanded that its’ employees lie if questioned about the products. As part of the settlement, Novum also will be debarred from involvement in federally funded projects.

The case against Novum was filed in 2012 by Brenda King under the whistleblower provisions of the FCA.  King will receive approximately $400,000 of the $2.5 million that Novum will pay to settle the fraud claims.