Articles Posted in Military Fraud

A federal judge has denied Pratt & Whitney’s motion to dismiss a whistle-blower suit alleging that the company falsified inspection reports and selling billions of dollars of possibly defective jet engines to the military between 2012 and 2015. But Judge Janet C. Hall, said the latest version of the complaint by former Pratt engineer of metallurgist Peter J. Bonzani, Jr. can proceed because it contains information Bonzani recently obtained about the company’s F119 engine contract with the U.S. Air Force. Bonzani claims that  Pratt learned in  2015 that it had been using defective equipment for at least three years to test and certify the seal coatings applied by spray-on process to integrally bladed rotors in the F119 engine core.

The faulty tests raise questions about Pratt’s certifications that the rotor components can withstand the enormous stresses of engine operation, the suit claims, and create a risk to the military of “premature wear, poor performance and possible catastrophic engine failures.”The proper sealing of these engine parts is critical to the engine function of jet fighter aircraft as these planes are designed to fly at higher pressures, lower bypass ratios, hotter temperatures, and within tighter tolerances compared to most commercial engines,” the lawsuit asserts. The Air Force uses the F119 in its F-22 fighter jet. But Bonzani contends in the suit that the allegedly defective process in place at Pratt’s Middletown plant may have affected engines the company built over the same period for the commercial Airbus A320NEPO and the F-35 fighter jet.

Bonzani provided robotics and thermal spray expertise to Pratt & Whitney as an independent contractor and later as a full-time employee, he said in his lawsuit. He says he was assigned to investigate after tests showed that the spray coating being applied to engine components in Middletown suddenly and inexplicably fell beneath quality control standards in 2015. The suit also says that Pratt had been using wrong-sized and worn spray equipment. When the equipment was replaced, the suit claims, subsequent tests showed quality measures were not being met. Bonzani said Pratt immediately suspended him and fired him 90 days after he brought what he called the defective testing procedures to the attention of management in Nov. 2015.

3M-defective-earplugs-300x200The U.S. Department of Justice reached a settlement of $9 million with the American company 3M over the sale of their earplugs to the U.S. military. The problem arose when allegations came forward stating that not only were their Duel-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs faulty but that they may have been aware of these defects since as far back as 2000. Many U.S. veterans are now suffering from permanent health problems concerning their ears due to this issue and may decide to seek retribution personally.

After military personnel continued to report auditory damage such as tinnitus, a sensation of persistent ringing in the ears, and in some cases complete loss of hearing, 3M’s Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs were found to have a major flaw. These black and yellow earplugs were supposed to be designed to have two levels of protection while blocking out any noise coming from aircrafts, bombs, explosions, and guns. Upon inspection though, it was discovered that the end made to fit the ear canal was not long enough. This small miscalculation in size left just enough space for loud sounds to penetrate the ear canal, and cause irreversible damage.

These earplugs were first manufactured by Aero Technologies, and were later acquired by 3M. 3M, formerly known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation that focuses on worker safety, health care, and common goods. 3M had a government contract to provide a safe product to those who serve in the military, and due to these allegations may have failed to do so. Some are claiming that both 3M, as well as their predecessor, knew about the deficiency of their product, and decided against informing the military of it when they signed their contract with the Defense Logistics Agency.

KBR, one of the nation’s largest government contractors is now being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission after claims surfaced that employees seeking to report fraud had to sign confidentiality statements barring them from disclosing the allegations to anyone, including federal prosecutors and investigators. This, according to a lawyer in a case pending against Halliburton and its former subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root. Continue reading

Major defense contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has agreed to pay Uncle Same $6 million to settle allegations that it circumvented the bidding process allowing it to obtain lucrative contracts. The fraud and abuse in this case was brought forth by an active duty military officer who first reported his concerns up the chain of command but no one would listen. Airforce Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Ferner a career military man, was Chief of staff for the Coalition and irregular Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. SAIC was awarded a multi million dollar contract to help CIWC develop enhanced warfare capabilities in the fight against terrorism. Lt. Col Ferner became suspicious that the normal contract procedures were bypassed and found out about a middlemen used by SAIC to arrange for the contract. In addition, Lt. Col. Ferner witnessed waste and abuse and the more contractors that came in, the less work was done. Lt. Col. Ferner was told by his superiors to keep quiet and they threatened to deploy him to Afghanistan while he was undergoing cancer treatment. He was ultimately fired from his job and given a menial position with no responsibility. He was represented by the James Foyer Law Firm. This is a story worth telling. Some smart Hollywood producer should pick up as this man’s courage in the face of his own illness and his career for the sake of his nation and w=for what is right. Congress should take a look at what his superiors did and did not do in the face of this fraud and to encourage others to come forward. Where is Lt. Col. Ferner and why haven’t we heard more? Under the False Claims Act, he will receive a portion of the $6 million recovery but he lost his career in the military for his courage. Stay tuned. –

The United States Department of Justice has officially joined an explosive federal whistleblower lawsuit against defense contractor Triple Canopy alleging  the company fraudulently billed the U.S. for hundreds of foreign nationals hired as security guards who were not proficient in firing weapons. There is a firearms proficiency test which the government says Triple Canopy’s managers falsified. The complaint says that the company used the false qualification records in an attempt to persuade the JCC-I/A to award the company a second year of security work at the Al Asad Airbase.  in June 2009, the Joint Contracting Commans in Iraq/Afghanistan awarded Triple Canopy a one year $10 million contract to perform a variety of security services at the airbase, the second largest base in iraq.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers. jeffrey.newman1@gmail.com

Lucent Technologies world services (LTWSI) an Alcatel-Lucent subsidiary will pay $4.2 million to settle False Claims allegations that it submitted misleading testing certifications to the Army relating to the design, contruction and modernization of Iraq’s emergency communications system. In March 2004, the Army awarded LTWSI a $250 million contract to build Advanced First Responder Network(AFRN) a 911 emergency response and first responder communications system to enable Iraqis to summon police, fire and medical assistance in emergencies. The whistleblower, Geoffrey Wilson, LTWSI’s former contract manager for the project alleged that the company submitted false claims for payment for equipment, services and contract performance award fees under the AFRN contract based upon inaccurate certifications that LTWSI performed and successfully completed certain testing of AFRN radio transmission sites. Wilson will receive $758,000 as his share of the settlement in accordance with the law. Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers. E-mail Jeffrey.Newman1@gmail.com