by Ben Vernia | June 27th, 2013
One June 26, the Department of Justice announced that General Electric Aviation Systems would pay $6.58 million to settle claims originally brought by a whistleblower that the company provided parts under defense contracts that the company knew failed to meet contract specifications. According to DOJ’s press release:
General Electric Aviation Systems (GEAS) has agreed to pay $6.58 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims in connection with multiple Department of Defense contracts, the Justice Department announced today. GEAS, headquartered in Ohio, manufactures and sells integrated systems and components for commercial, corporate, military and marine aircraft.
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GEAS contracted to manufacture and deliver to the Navy external fuel tanks (EFTs) for use on the F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter jet. GEAS manufactured the EFTs at its plant in Santa Ana, California. In March 2008, a GEAS-manufactured EFT failed government testing, which led to a multi-year investigation by the local California offices of the Defense Contract Management Agency, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Navy Criminal Investigative Service. As a result of that investigation, the United States alleged that GEAS knowingly failed to comply with contract specifications and failed to undertake proper quality control procedures in connection with 641 EFTs it delivered to the Navy between June 2005 and February 2008.
In addition, the settlement resolves allegations that, between June 2010 and June 2011, GEAS knew that it falsely represented to another government contractor that GEAS had performed a complete inspection of 228 drag beams to be used on Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, and that those 228 drag beams conformed to all contract specifications.
DOJ also stated that the share of the settlement to be awarded to the whistleblower, a former GE employee, has not yet been determined.