Federal Contractors Eyak Technology LLC and Eyak Services LLC Resolve False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Act Allegations

Alaska and Virginia-based technology contractors Eyak Technology LLC (EyakTek) and Eyak Services LLC (ESL) have agreed to pay $2.5 million and relinquish any rights to additional payments from the United States to resolve allegations that they submitted false claims to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Justice Department announced today.  EyakTek and its sister company, ESL, provide healthcare, information technology, communications and infrastructure services to the U.S. government.  Both are subsidiaries of The Eyak Corporation, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska.

“Federal government contractors and their employees must adhere to high standards in their dealings with the government,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “We will vigorously pursue those who pay kickbacks or otherwise engage in conduct that undermines the integrity of the contracting process.”

From 2005 to 2011, EyakTek held a $1 billion prime contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers known as the Technology for Infrastructure, Geospatial, and Environmental Requirements contract.

The government alleged that, between Sept. 12, 2007, and Oct. 4, 2011, EyakTek’s then-director of contracts, Harold Babb, accepted kickbacks from several subcontractors of EyakTek and ESL in return for using his position to direct subcontracts to them.  EyakTek and ESL allegedly submitted invoices to the Army Corps that included charges for work that was never performed by the subcontractors and lacked internal controls to detect the improper charges.

In March 2012, Babb pleaded guilty to bribery and kickback charges.  The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sentenced him to serve 87 months in prison, to be followed by 36 months of supervised release and more than $9 million in restitution for his role in the kickback scheme.

The Army Corps stopped payments to EyakTek and ESL when the alleged scheme came to light.  As part of the settlement, EyakTek and ESL will withdraw any appeals seeking the return of those funds, and relinquish all rights to any payments that have been withheld.

“This settlement demonstrates our willingness to use every tool of civil and criminal law in our arsenal to defend the American taxpayer from corruption in contracting,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. for the District of Columbia.  “The criminal investigation into this wide-ranging bribery and kickback scheme has now resulted in the convictions of 20 individuals, including EyakTek’s former contracts director.  We have aggressively pursued asset forfeitures in the criminal proceedings to make the taxpayer whole and to deprive wrongdoers of their ill-gotten gains.  This civil settlement sends a message to contractors who try to cheat in the competition for government funds.”

“This is yet another prime example of our commitment, along with other fellow law enforcement agencies to hold people and companies accountable for each and every detail of their contracts with the U.S. government and the U.S. Army,” said Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit.  “Our agents will continue to aggressively investigate and identify any potential abuses that arise in regard to the contracting process.”

“Manipulations of the Department of Defense procurement process will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office.  “Today’s settlement demonstrates the commitment by DCIS and its partner agencies to hold accountable companies who attempt to bypass federal contracting laws.”

Today’s settlement is the result of a coordinated effort among the department’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DCIS, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, the Army’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit and the Small Business Administration.

The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

US Files Suit Against Canton, Ohio-based Tab Construction and Its Owner for Allegedly Defrauding the Historically Underutilized Business Zone Program

The government has filed a complaint against Canton, Ohio-based TAB Construction Co. Inc. (TAB) and its owner, William E. Richardson III, for allegedly making false statements to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to obtain certification as a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) company, the Justice Department announced today.

 “The HUBZone program is intended to create jobs in areas that historically have had trouble attracting business,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery.  “The Justice Department will take strong enforcement action when companies obtain contracts to which they are not entitled.”

The government alleges that TAB used its fraudulently procured HUBZone certification to obtain four U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ construction contracts worth millions of dollars.  Each of those contracts had been set aside for qualified HUBZone companies.  The government’s complaint asserts claims against TAB and Richardson under the False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989.

Allegedly, Richardson originally applied to the HUBZone program in 2000 by claiming that TAB’s principal office was located in a designated HUBZone when no TAB employees worked out of the HUBZone office, and TAB actually was located in a non-HUBZone.  Even though Richardson told the SBA that TAB was located in a HUBZone, Richardson consistently used his non-HUBZone address in conducting TAB’s other business affairs, at one point even stating under oath in private litigation that TAB’s office was located in a non-HUBZone.  In 2006, Richardson allegedly applied for re-certification to the HUBZone program, again falsely stating that eight employees worked in the designated HUBZone.  The government alleges that just six weeks after Richardson re-certified its eligibility with the SBA, TAB completed an affidavit in an unrelated matter, which stated that TAB’s principal office was located in a non-HUBZone.

Under the HUBZone program, companies that maintain their principal office in a designated HUBZone, and meet certain other requirements, can apply to the SBA for certification as a HUBZone small business company.  HUBZone companies can then use this certification when bidding on government contracts.  In certain cases, government agencies will restrict competition for a contract to HUBZone-certified companies.

“We will not tolerate fraud in the HUBZone or any other SBA program,” said SBA Inspector General Peggy E. Gustafson.  “With our interagency partners, this office will continue to pursue those who defraud the government by lying to gain access to federal set-aside contracts.”

“SBA’s contracting programs, including the HUBZone program, provide small businesses with the opportunity to grow and create jobs,” said SBA General Counsel Sara D. Lipscomb.  “SBA has no tolerance for waste, fraud or abuse in any government contracting program and is committed to working with our federal partners to ensure the benefits of these programs flow to the intended recipients.”

The government filed its complaint in two consolidated lawsuits filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act.  Under the Act, a private citizen can sue on behalf of the government and share in any recovery.  The government also is entitled to intervene in the lawsuit, as it has done in this case.

This matter was handled by the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Justice Department’s Civil Division in conjunction with the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General and Office of General Counsel and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

The consolidated civil cases are U.S. ex rel. Roy. J. Fairbrother Jr. and Louis Petit v. TAB Construction Co. Inc., et al., No. 5:11-cv-1432 (N.D. Ohio) and U.S. ex rel. Patricia Hopson and Vince Pavkov v. TAB Construction Co. Inc., No. 5:12-cv-135 (N.D. Ohio).  The claims asserted against TAB and Richardson are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.


WASHINGTON — A New Jersey jury convicted a former project manager for his  central role in conspiracies that spanned seven years and involved kickbacks in  excess of $1.5 million at two Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund  sites in New Jersey, the Department of Justice announced today.  The jury returned guilty verdicts on 10  counts charged in the indictment against Gordon D. McDonald, which was filed on  Aug. 31, 2009.

In addition to today’s conviction,  to date, eight individuals and three companies have pleaded guilty to charges  arising out of this investigation.

After a two-week trial, McDonald, a former project manager for a prime contractor, was convicted  of engaging in separate bid-rigging, kickback and/or fraud conspiracies with  three subcontractors at two New Jersey Superfund sites – Federal Creosote in  Manville, N.J., and Diamond Alkali in Newark, N.J.  He was also convicted of engaging in an  international money laundering scheme, major fraud against the United States,  accepting illegal kickbacks, committing two tax violations and obstruction of  justice. The various conspiracies took  place at different time periods from approximately December 2000 until approximately April 2007.  McDonald was acquitted on counts eight and nine involving certain fraud and kickback charges.

“Today’s guilty verdict sends a clear message that  corrupt purchasing officials will be held accountable for engaging in  fraudulent schemes designed to undermine the government’s competitive  contracting practices,” said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of  the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.   “The Antitrust Division is committed to ensuring there is fair play and competition  in our markets.”

As part of  the conspiracies, McDonald and co-conspirators at his former company accepted  kickbacks from sub-contractors in exchange for the award of sub-contracts at  Federal Creosote.  McDonald provided  co-conspirators at Bennett Environmental Inc., a Canadian-based company that  treats and disposes of contaminated soil, with bid prices of their competitors,  which allowed them to submit higher bid prices and still be awarded the  sub-contracts.  In exchange for  McDonald’s assistance, Bennett Environmental, Inc. provided him with over $1.5  million in kickback payments.

According to court documents, McDonald also  accepted kickbacks in exchange for the award of sub-contracts at the Federal  Creosote and Diamond Alkali sites from the owner of JMJ Environmental Inc., a  wastewater treatment and chemical supply company, and the co-owner of National  Industrial Supply LLC, an industrial pipes supplier.  He participated in a conspiracy with the  owner of JMJ and co-conspirators to rig bids and allocate sub-contracts at  inflated prices for wastewater treatment supplies and services at Federal Creosote.

The cleanup at Federal Creosote was  primarily funded by the EPA.  An  interagency agreement between the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designated that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hire the prime contractors at Federal Creosote.  According to a settlement with the EPA and  the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Tierra Solutions was  required to fund remedial action and maintenance of Diamond Alkali.  Tierra Solutions hired the prime contractor  for the remedial action and maintenance of Diamond Alkali.

Sentencing is  scheduled for Jan. 6, 2014, before Judge Susan D. Wigenton.  To date, more than $6 million in criminal  fines and restitution have been imposed, and five individuals have been  sentenced to serve more than 10 years in total prison time.

Today’s  conviction is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation being  conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Office, the EPA Office of  Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.  Anyone with information concerning bid  rigging, kickbacks, tax offenses or fraud relating to subcontracts awarded at  the Federal Creosote Superfund site or Diamond Alkali Superfund site should  contact the Antitrust Division’s New York Office at 212-335-8000