Lockheed pays $4.8M to settle illegal lobbying claim

Sandia Corp. and parent company Lockheed Martin, which operate the federally-funded Sandia National Laboratories, agreed to pay $4.8 million to settle claims that the company used taxpayer money to lobby congress to extend its contract to manage the research facility in violation of federal law.

Sandia National LaboratoriesThe Department of Justice opened an investigation earlier this year after an inspector general report showed the company used federal funds to stand up an in-house lobbying team to develop a strategy to extend the management contract for the facility at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after it was set to expire in 2012.

Documents obtained by the IG revealed a strategy to influence congressmen and federal officials — including then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu. While these lobbying efforts were not explicitly illegal, laws and regulations prohibit the use of federal funds for such purposes.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/management/oversight/2015/08/24/lockheed-sandia-lobbying/32262165/

Read in-depth information at:  http://archive.federaltimes.com/article/20141112/ACQ/311120012/Report-Sandia-violated-rules-lobbying-contract-extensions

VA contractor convicted of bribing former department official

A federal jury has convicted a government contractor for bribing the former director of the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center for confidential information about the department’s construction projects.

VAMark S. Farmer, 55, of Arlington, Va., was convicted of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, theft of government property, and violating the Hobbs Act, an anti-racketeering law. Farmer was an executive at CannonDesign, a global design firm headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., that did work for the VA. William Montague, former director of the Cleveland and Dayton VA Medical Center in Ohio, stole confidential information for Farmer to give him and CannonDesign an advantage over other companies seeking the government’s construction business.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2015/08/va-contractor-convicted-bribing-former-department-official/119290

Three U.S. naval officers censured in ‘Fat Leonard’ corruption probe

Three U.S. admirals were censured for dining at “extravagant” banquets in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore and accepting other gifts from an Asian defense contractor at the center of a bribery scandal that continues to rattle the highest ranks of the Navy, according to documents released late Friday.

Navy logoOne dinner alone cost $23,061, or about $768.72 for each of the 30 people who attended. To get around ethics rules, the admirals reimbursed the contractor — a Malaysian national known in Navy circles as “Fat Leonard” — but only for a fraction of the expense, writing personal checks for between $50 and $70 each, the documents show.

The incidents occurred nearly a decade ago, while all three officers — Vice Adm. Michael H. Miller, Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft and Rear Adm. David R. Pimpo — were assigned to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike group. Each was forced to retire this summer.

Keep reading this article at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/three-us-admirals-censured-in-fat-leonard-corruption-probe/2015/07/17/7f29ca1a-2b1f-11e5-a5ea-cf74396e59ec_story.html

Supreme Court holds that wartime act does not delay statute of limitations on false claims

Government contractors and health care companies have become increasingly concerned about the application of the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (“WSLA”), 18 U.S.C. § 3287, and the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) and False Claims Act (“FCA”) relators’ arguments that the statute extends indefinitely the limitation period applicable to civil FCA cases. 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733. Supreme Court

On May 27, 2015, the Supreme Court rejected the unwarranted extension of the WSLA and properly limited the reach of that statute (and suspension of limitations periods) to the context of criminal law. The decision in Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. v. U.S. ex rel. Carter (“KBR”) is an important victory for Government contractors, health care companies and other recipients of federal funding. It provides protection against stale claims, which should be barred by the statute of limitations. It is particularly noteworthy because it removes the risk of stale FCA claims that would otherwise be time barred and that have no connection to wartime activities, such as health care claims, or lawsuits related to other civilian agency programs, e.g., the Department of Agriculture program discussed in United States v. BNP Paribas SA.

The WSLA was enacted shortly after World War I and was reenacted during World War II. Until 2008, it permitted the period of limitations to be suspended during wartime and for three years after the end of hostilities. Prior to 2008, it was not clear whether the WSLA was triggered by the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as there had been no declaration of war. Congress expanded the WSLA in 2008 to apply when Congress enacts a “specific authorization for the use of the Armed Forces” and increased the suspension period to five years after the termination of hostilities. Given the ongoing conflicts in which the U.S. has been involved during the past decade, questions have arisen about whether the suspension of the limitations period has become indefinite and is being used for matters that have no connection to wartime.

In KBR, the Supreme Court reversed the Fourth Circuit and held that the WSLA does not toll the statute of limitations in civil fraud cases. In KBR, a former employee who had worked for the company in Iraq, brought a civil False Claims action as a relator, claiming that the contractor had billed the Government for work that was never performed. The Government did not intervene in the case. Before the Supreme Court, Carter and the Government (as amicus) argued that, even though the WSLA is part of Title 18, it applied to civil fraud matters. The Government noted that until 1944, the WSLA applied to offenses that were “now indictable under existing law”—and that the “now indictable” language was removed in 1944. (The district court’s decision BNP Paribasprovides a detailed history of the WSLA.) The Government’s amicus brief also defended application of the WSLA to civil cases based on policy considerations, such as asserting that its time and resources are overtaxed during wartime and that fraud often requires a substantial amount of time to uncover and pursue.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=400298

Justice Dept. gets $9M back from bankrupt vendor

The federal government is exacting a little payback from Global Computer Enterprises in the form of a False Claims Act settlement.

After GCE applied for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 in September, the Labor Department and the General Services Administration had to pay the company $23 million to get access to financial systems and data.

Justice Dept. sealNow the Justice Department is collecting $9 million back after GCE and its owner Raed Muslimani agreed to settle charges brought against them.

DoJ said in a May 7 press release that GCE and Muslimani do not admit to any wrong doing, but agreed to pay the $9 million fine.

Justice brought up charges against GCE and Muslimani claiming the company “misrepresented and/or concealed that it was utilizing engineers and other employees who were expressly prohibited from working on the contracts due to their citizenship/immigration statuses,” in contracts with Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), GSA, the Secret Service and the Coast Guard.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/130/3855194/Justice-gets-9M-back-from-bankrupt-vendor-GCE