SEPT/OCT 2012: Military contractor Applied Research Associates (ARA) with offices in Vermont, has agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle a whistleblower case alleging the company fraudulently billed Uncle Sam on a multi-year contract with the Army. The whistleblower, former ARA engineer Brent Boerger of Vt. was represented by Jeffrey A. Newman of Boston and Marblehead. Mr. Boerger will share in the settlement pursuant to the federal False Claims Act. Applied Research Associates is a defense contracting firm headquartered in New Mexico.
The False Claims Act case, filed in federal court in Burlington Vermont, by Attorney Jeffrey A. Newman, alleged fraudulent billing for work performed by ARA’s employees that was unrelated to a government contract for a project known as “Nemesis.” The Nemesis project was a multi-year, successive contract project spanning about ten years. ARA billed under the contract for work performed on a number of other projects. Mr. Boerger alleged that the work on other projects was not pertinent to research or development of the humanitarian de-mining system identified in the contract.
The federal qui tam statute 31 U.S.C. Section 3730 allows a whistleblower to file a civil complaint on behalf of the United States. The filing of the complaint allows the government to decide whether to intervene in the action. The government intervenes in only 23% of all False Claims Actions filed each year. The Government intervened in this case in September 2012. Tristam J. Coffin United States Attorney for Vermont commended Mr. Boerger for coming forward and reporting the ARA billing practice on the Nemesis contract. “His efforts led to a federal investigation that we believe furthered the integrity and accountability in federal contract programs, and his cooperation and assistance was tremendously helpful to our work.” He said. The United States was represented during the investigation by Civil Chief Carol L. Shea of Burlington Vt.