Engineering firm accused of overcharging the US Air Force and withholding information for years on Thursday agreed to pay $ 6.4 million in deal with the US Department of Justice Thursday.
CH2M Hill, an engineering consulting firm that works frequently with the federal government, has been accused of overcharging the Air Force over $ 8 million for services provided by underqualified consulting personnel and more than 2 million dollars in interest between 2003 and 2014. The Justice Department said CH2M Hill knew about overcharging its customers as early as 2011, but would not publish a third-party audit of its labor practices, calling the report of “confidential matter”, according to court documents.
“We rely on those who apply and receive government contracts to fulfill their part of the deal – and that includes ensuring that the staff on duty are qualified for the job,” said US Attorney Brian Moran.
According to the regulations, at least five of CH2M Hill’s council staff did not meet the education or manpower requirements of two Air Force centers for Engineering and environment contracts. The Colorado-based consulting firm has an office in Bellevue. He was also in charge of a Hanford site clean-up project from 1999 to 2008, years after the federal government produced plutonium for nuclear weapons during the Cold War.
After a judge ruled the firm should release its audit in 2016, CH2M Hill reimbursed the U.S. government in 2017 after admitting the Air Force overpaid it for services.
However, “the government, in our role of trying to dissuade people from admitting [to] overcharging… is able to claim double damages, ”said Emily Langlie, director of communications for the US attorney’s office. “The overpayment has already been refunded to the government, but in this settlement they are paying extra money to resolve this matter.”
The settlement allows the government to recover double the overpayment – but this is capped at $ 6.4 million because under a 10-year limitation period it could not recover overpayment damages. paid from 2003 to part of 2006.
This is not the first time that CH2M Hill has faced a federal works controversy in Washington state. In 2013, a handful of managers and supervisors were indicted by a federal grand jury for allowing time fraud while the company was tasked with cleaning up radioactive waste from the Hanford site in Benton County. The United States has imposed or collected more than $ 19 million in fines, damages and penalties.