The Department of Justice announced that it intervened and reached a settlement in the MPRI qui tam whistleblower lawsuit in which MPRI has agreed to pay $3.2 million to resolve allegations that it submitted false labor charges on a contract to support the Army in Afghanistan.
The MPRI qui tam whistleblower lawsuit is captioned U.S. ex rel. Lankford v. MPRI Inc., Case No. 10-193 (S.D. Ohio). The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability. MPRI is a Chantilly, Virginia-based company.
The government alleged in the MPRI Qui Tam whistleblower lawsuit that MPRI billed for employees who had not worked because they had been granted leave and were out of the country. The alleged false billing occurred between March 2005 and October 2010. The alleged facts include that:
- Under its contract with the Army, MPRI was required to provide support to the Army in its efforts to re-design and build from scratch a new Afghan Defense Sector that would establish an Afghan national security system suitable for a modern Western military
- Among other things, MPRI was required to provide support for program and financial management, development and implementation of core systems for the Afghan Ministry of Defense and General Staff, intermediate Commands, and sustaining institutions, training in logistics, acquisitions, installation management and intelligence
- The allegations arose from a whistleblower lawsuit filed by an employee under the False Claims Act, which permits private individuals to bring lawsuits on behalf of the government and to share in the proceeds of any settlement or judgment.
- MPRI employed Lankford in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2009 as a finance officer and contract support official.
- Lankford will receive $576,000 as his share of the settlement amount.
The False Claims Act (qui tam and whistleblower) also permits the government to investigate the allegations made in the relator’s complaint and to decide whether to intervene in the lawsuit, and to recover three times its damages plus civil penalties.
For more information on Qui Tam Whistleblower lawsuits, click here.
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