Hunt Companies, Inc. will pay $500,000 to settle allegations that it engaged in fraudulent activity at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in violation of the False Claims Act. The settlement resolves a lawsuit that a whistleblower filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice press release, Hunt is “one of the largest providers of privatized military housing to the U.S. Armed Forces” and provides those services at the Dover Air Force Base. “For its services, Hunt is eligible to receive quarterly performance incentive fees if it meets certain performance objectives” — these objectives could include “maintaining the residences while they are occupied and preparing the residences for new tenants once they are vacated.”
The press release states that between January 2013 and June 2019, Hunt allegedly “submitted materially false information to the Air Force in order to receive higher performance incentive payouts from the [g]overnment.” The DOJ notes that the “settlement agreement resolves these allegations; there has been no admission of fault.”
The qui tam whistleblower lawsuit was filed by a former employee of Hunt, though the press release does not provide the whistleblower’s name. Through the False Claims Act’s qui tam provisions, whistleblowers can file lawsuits on behalf of the federal government if they have knowledge of a company or individual defrauding the government. Qui tam whistleblowers are entitled to 15-30% of the funds recovered in a settlement.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware is committed to fighting for the wellbeing of our servicemembers and their families, especially those stationed at Dover Air Force Base,” said U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss. “When companies put servicemembers’ welfare at risk to maximize profit, they cheat the government as well as everyone who serves our country. We will not tolerate such disappointing conduct.”
At the end of 2021, WNN compiled a roundup of standout False Claims Act cases and settlements that involved qui tam lawsuits throughout the year: check out the article here.