by Ben Vernia | July 9th, 2013
On July 3, the Department of Justice announced that Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) had agreed to pay $5.75 million to settle claims originally brought by a now-retired U.S. Air Force officer that a company employee impersonated a Navy Senior Executive Service (SES, or high-ranking civilian) official, in an effort to get the whistleblower, an officer at Central Command in Tampa, Florida, to approve a contract. The whistleblower’s complaint alleged that when he questioned the SAIC employee for additional information and demanded to know the name of his boss, the SAIC employee replied: “I work directly for the Secretary of the Navy. Are you sure you want to got there?”
According to DOJ’s press release:
The Justice Department announced today that Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has agreed to pay $5.75 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims under a contract with the General Services Administration (GSA) that it knew had been awarded in violation of federal procurement regulations. SAIC provides scientific, engineering and technical services to commercial and government customers and is headquartered in Northern Virginia.
In 2006, GSA awarded a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) to SAIC for the provision of professional engineering and consulting services. Those services related to the study and evaluation of new products and emerging technologies. The United States contended that SAIC personnel provided false information to GSA contracting officials to induce them to award the BPA to SAIC. In particular, the United States alleged that SAIC caused another individual to falsely represent himself as an employee of the Senior Executive Staff of the Department of Defense and the Director of another federal agency. SAIC performed a substantial number of the task orders it received under the BPA for the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
DOJ also announced that the relator will receive $977,500 (a 17% relator’s share).
(On the same day the government filed its stipulation of dismissal of SAIC in the Middle District of Florida, it announced that it had reached a settlement as to the SAIC employee involved in the case; the government has not, however announced a settlement with him.)