Parsons Government Services Agrees to Pay the Government $3.8 Million to Settle Allegations That It Violated the False Claims Act for Knowingly Mischarging the Department of Energy
On September 2, 2015, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Parsons Government Services Inc., has agreed to pay the U.S. Government $3.8 million to settle allegations that the company knowingly mischarged the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for costs associated with relocating employees to the Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina to work on the DOE contract it was awarded for the Salt Water Processing Facility (SWPF) project.
Parson Government Services, Inc. is affiliated with Parsons Corporation, an engineering, construction, technical and management service firm headquartered in Pasadena, CA. Parsons is currently one of the largest firms of this type in the U.S. with more than 15,000 employees and reported revenue in 2013 of more than $30 billion It is 100 percent owned by its Employee Stock Ownership Trust.
In accordance with the terms and conditions of the SWPF contract, Parson was entitled to receive reimbursements for expenses it incurred for relocating eligible employees to work at the SWPF project site in Aiken, South Carolina. Parson’s was also responsible for ensuring that certain obligations of eligibility were met and maintained in order to receive reimbursement for employee relocation expenses. These expenses included costs for moving, meals, lodging and transportation. One example of employee eligibility was that the employee maintains a permanent residence at the location from which they transferred.
However, the Government alleged that Parson’s knowingly violated the agreement when it billed the DOE for expenses it incurred for employees that did not quality for reimbursement under the terms and conditions of the agreement. In doing so, according to the lawsuit, Parson’s submission of the expenses and reimbursement of the expenses was a violation of the False Claims Act (FCA). The FCA is a law that imposes liability on persons and companies (often Federal contractors) who defraud governmental programs. It is the federal Government’s primary litigation tool in combating fraud against the Government.
If you have information concerning a potential case involving a person or company that is committing government fraud by mischarging or overbilling the government, you can help your fellow taxpayers by bringing that information to the attention of the government. It is also possible that you might be able to bring your own qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act, acting as a whistleblower on behalf of the U.S. government. Before filing your lawsuit, be sure to consult with an attorney familiar with the intricacies of the False Claims Act and qui tam lawsuits, as these attorneys are best equipped to help protect your rights and help you gain your share of any monetary reward from a potential settlement.