On October 19, 2012, the United States Department of Justice filed a complaint under the False Claims Act against Jacintoport International LLC in connection with a government contract. Jacintoport is a cargo handling and stevedoring firm headquartered in Houston, TX. Jacintoport entered into a contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2007 for the storage and redelivery of humanitarian food aid. The contract placed precise caps on the rates Jacintoport could charge to load humanitarian food aid onto ships which would then be delivered to areas of crisis around the world.
The complaint alleges that for most of 2008 and 2009, Jacintoport regularly surpassed the caps negotiated in the signed contract, resulting in inflated charges to the United States. In total, it is believed that roughly more than 50 thousand tons of humanitarian food aid is connected to the complaint.
The United States’ complaint was filed in a lawsuit initiated under the qui tam or whisteblower provisions of the False Claims Act by John Raggio, who allegedly received an invoice from Jacintoport that contained the excessive stevedoring charge. The Justice Department’s Civil Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, with help from the USAID Office of the Inspector General oversaw the investigation of this matter.
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