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L-3 whistleblower collects $800,000 from defense contract overbilling settlement

A former independent contractor for L-3 Communications Corporation was awarded nearly $800,000 as his share of a settlement of a False Claims Act lawsuit that alleged overbilling in defense contracts.

Robert A. Martin filed a lawsuit under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.

The suit alleged that L-3 Communications Corporation and two affiliates — Vertex Aerospace LLC and L-3 Communications Integrated Systems LP — inflated the hours spent by independent contractors at the military’s Continental U.S. Replacement Centers (CRC).

The CRCs prepare individuals for deployment overseas in support roles for the U.S. military. The preparation involves orientation briefings training, health screenings, and payroll processing. The CRCs involved the claims were in Fort Benning, Georgia, and Fort Bliss, Texas.

The L-3 companies agreed to pay $4.63 million to resolve the lawsuit. Martin’s share of the recovery was $798,675.

L-3 had contracts with the U.S. Air Force to perform rotary aviation maintenance and support services in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Kuwait.

From 2006 through November 2011, “L-3 knowingly overcharged the government for time their independent contractors spent at the CRCs by billing for each individual not based on the actual time that individual spent at the CRC, but based instead on the earliest arrival or latest departure time of any other individual who also processed through the center that same day,” the DOJ said.

Under the False Claims Act, private citizens can sue on behalf of the government for false claims and share in any recovery.

Frank Robey, director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit, said: “Today’s settlement is a testament to the hard work of our special agents and also highlights the importance of the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act.”

“In this particular case, a concerned citizen wasn’t afraid to speak up, alerted the proper authorities, and helped save the U.S. government millions of dollars,” Robey said.

The DOJ said claims resolved by the settlement were allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

The lawsuit was United States ex rel. Martin v. L-3 Communications Corp., et al., 1:10-CV-1622-CAP (N.D. Ga.). 

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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