We noted a clear reality concerning fraud claims commenced under the U.S. False Claims Act in a recent blog post at the pro-consumer website of Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah (with offices in Connecticut and several other states spanning the country).
And that is this, as stressed in our January 8 entry: Whistleblower cases filed under the FCA are anything but sporadic or singular. In fact, “they are disturbingly consistent, and even on the upswing.”
Moreover, they feature in stories involving federal agencies and entities of virtually every type and dimension.
Like the military, for example, where fraud can understandably yield truly catastrophic consequences.
A recent story involving deficient communications technology embedded in equipment used by the U.S. Coast Guard underscores the dire concerns posed. That tale relates the selfless efforts of a defense company engineer willing to sacrifice his career to inform federal government officials of known glitches in radio communications equipment used by the Coast Guard on select vessels.
Reportedly, Coast Guard officials knew something was deeply wrong with the purchased technology made by Lockheed Martin, and the engineer’s investigation into alleged glitches readily confirmed that. The above-cited media report states that he “repeatedly reported the problem to his superiors.”
Lockheed Martin did not address the problem. Rather, it laid off the engineer.
In turn, he filed a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit under the FCA, which the government subsequently intervened in. Earlier this month, Lockheed Martin agreed to pay $4.4 million to pay off fines, fix the problem and compensate the whistleblower.
Following the settlement, the engineer conceded that “sacrificing my career to become a whistleblower has been a difficult experience.”
Thankfully, the risk he took remedied a clear safety problem affecting human lives and military operations. As a result of his courage and resolve, the government gave him a whistleblower recovery of nearly $1 million.