Wise Services Inc. (Wise), based in Dayton, Ohio, has agreed to pay $302,500 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by continuing to submit false and fraudulent bills for non-existent materials with the Department of Energy (DOE) ) and the payment of improper kickbacks. The settlement amount was negotiated due to Wise’s inability to pay.
Wise was a subcontractor at the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at DOE’s Savannah River site in Aiken, South Carolina. The United States alleged that Wise knowingly provided the prime contractor – MOX Services LLC, formerly known as CB&I AREVA MOX Services LLC (MOX) – with hundreds of invoices demanding millions of dollars for materials that did not exist. MOX submitted these false bills to DOE. The United States also alleged that Wise employees paid kickbacks to MOX employees involved in the scheme.
“The government expects both contractors and subcontractors to honor their contractual obligations,” said Brian M. Boynton, assistant assistant attorney general, chief of the Justice Department’s civil division. “Those who breach their obligations and undermine the integrity of the government’s procurement process must face appropriate consequences.”
“This settlement alerts subcontractors that they will be held accountable for providing false bills and paying kickbacks to contractors under federal contracts with the United States,” said US Attorney Adair F. Boroughs for the District of South Carolina . “We are grateful to the Department of Energy’s Office of the Inspector General and the National Nuclear Security Administration for their important work on this case.”
“The lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice and this settlement will serve as a deterrent to others attempting to defraud the Department of Energy,” said Department of Energy Inspector General Teri L. Donaldson. “We are always on the lookout for those who are developing illegal systems designed to harm the government and American taxpayers, and we will continue to do everything we can to track down and deter these scammers.”
The civil settlement includes the settlement of claims against Wise made under the False Claims Act by the United States in the above case United States v. CB&I AREVA MOX Services LLC and Wise Services Inc., No. 19-cv-444 (DSC). MOX paid $10 million in a settlement with the government earlier this year for its participation in the program.
The resolution reached in this matter was the result of a coordinated effort between the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Commercial Disputes Division, Fraud Division and the US Attorney for the District of South Carolina with support from the DOE Office of Inspector General and the National Nuclear Safety Administration.
The matter was being handled by Fraud Division Attorneys Don Williamson and Rory Skaggs and Assistant US Attorneys Johanna Valenzuela, James Leventis and Sheria Clarke for the District of South Carolina.
The claims settled by the Settlement are allegations only and no liability has been determined.