(STL.News) – Eagle Alliance, a Northrop Grumman partnership, has paid the United States $110,000 to resolve False Claims Act allegations that it improperly billed the government for computer hardware.
The settlement was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig, Jr. of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service – Mid-Atlantic Field Office (DCIS); and Inspector General Robert P. Storch of the National Security Agency (NSA).
“We rely on government contractors to bill the government fairly,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “When the government is overbilled or billed improperly under its contracts, taxpayers suffer. We will pursue government contractors to recover the fraudulently obtained funds.”
According to the settlement agreement, Eagle Alliance contracted with a government agency to provide new computer hardware. However, during several periods of time between 2012 and 2013, Eagle Alliance billed the government twice for the same equipment. Moreover, the government contends that Eagle Alliance also improperly billed certain used computer equipment to the government as if it were new.
The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations. The settlement is not an admission of liability by Eagle Alliance or Northrop Grumman, nor a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded.
Jeffrey Brenner, a former Eagle Alliance employee, originally filed this lawsuit under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act. These provisions permit private individuals with knowledge of fraud to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery, even where the government intervenes to take over the action, as it did here. Brenner will receive $18,700 of the settlement.
The settlement reminds contractors of their obligations to carefully account for their billings under government contracts, as improper billings and overages will subject them to liability under the False Claims Act.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the DCIS and the NSA Office of the Inspector General for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur also thanked Assistant United States Attorney Molissa H. Farber, who handled the case.