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Defense Contractor to Pay $3 Million to Settle False Claims Allegations

On several occasions, the government’s crackdown on fraud and abuse – which started as a concerted effort back in 2009 – has help to uncover activities that put America’s fighting men and women at risk.  This was certainly the case when last March the Justice Department announced that ArmorSource, LLC had agreed to pay $3 million to resolve False Claims Act Allegations in connection with a contract to provide combat helmets to the U.S. Army.  ArmorSource is an Ohio-based company that designs, develops and manufactures ballistic helmets for military and law enforcement personnel around the world.  The government alleged that from 2006 to 2009. ArmorSource delivered Advanced Combat Helmets (ACH) to the army that were manufactured and tested using methods that did not conform to contract standards and that they also failed to meet performance standards.  In May of 2010, the Army began recalling the helmets after several lots failed ballistic safety tests.

“The U.S. government relies on contractors to manufacture equipment that is critical to the safety of our men and women in uniform, and equipment that fails to meet performance standards not only cheats taxpayers, but can put lives at risk,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “Today’s settlement demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our military receives products that meet its requirements and for which it has paid.”  “Today’s settlement in this important case is a reminder to all government contractors that they must deliver on their promises, especially when the safety and security of our troops is on the line,” said Special Agent in Charge Monte A. Cason of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General’s Dallas Field Office.

ArmorSource subcontracted the manufacturing of the helmets to Federal Prison Industries, Inc, (FPI) which operates under the trade name UNICOR.  The settlement also resolves a lawsuit filed by Melessa Ponzio and Sharon Clubb, FPI employees, under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act.  Ms. Ponzio and Ms. Clubb will receive $450,000 as a part of the government’s recovery.  If you know of fraud that has been committed against the government and/or any of its agencies then you are encouraged to report it to the proper authorities and to also consult a qui tam law firmQui tam law firms specliaze in this area of the False Claims Act and can make a measured assessment of your unique situation while protecting your rights.