Whistleblower’s Complaint Leads Bering Straits Technical Services, L.L.C. and Bering Straits Native Corporation to Pay $2 Million to Settle Civil Fraud Charges
Bering Straits Technical Services, L.L.C. and Bering Straits Native Corporation have agreed to pay $2 million to settle civil charges involving alleged violations of the False Claims Act. The settlement was finalized April 26, 2016, without an admission of liability.
Specifically, and according to government reports, the whistleblower alleged that beginning in September 10, 2010, BSTS and BSNC submitted false preventative maintenance reports for maintenance that was not performed and false repair work orders, thereby overcharging the government. The complaint also claimed that BSTS and BSNC employees were directed to repair equipment that no longer existed or was no longer in service and compelled to claim maintenance hours and supply costs for work that was not performed. Employees were also allegedly coerced to “pencil whip.” That is, make up hours after the fact with no relation to time actually spent on the maintenance. Invoices were based on the fraudulent documents and presented to the U.S. for payment.
This settlement netted the client and government about $1.920 million.
About the legal teams
The whistleblower legal team included Joel Androphy and Sarah Frazier of Berg & Androphy. Based in Houston, and with offices in New York, Philadelphia, and Denver, Berg & Androphy has represented individuals in qui tam cases against companies that have defrauded federal and state governments.
The U.S. Government was represented in part by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Venezia. The government’s investigative team included Special Agents Lonnie Taylor and Gregory Shilling of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, part of the U.S. Department of Defense; Joshua Bowman of the Defense Contract Audit Agency; and Michael Gaubatz of the U.S. Army.