Company that had convicts build defective combat helmets earns $30 mill repays $3 mill

Combat helmets made by the Federal Prison Industries and Armorsource were manufactured with degraded or unauthorized ballistic materials, expired pain and unauthorized manufacturing methods. As a result the helmets had defects including deformities but were sold to the Department of Defense nonetheless.

The investigation was engaged when two FPI managers came forward and filed whistleblower lawsuits.

Although Armorsource settled the lawsuit it did not have to admit wrongdoing and the $3 million it paid was about one tenth of the $30 million it had been awarded for the contract. The company has secured another contract for combat helmets. The lawsuit alleged that the kevlar for the helmets was stored under a leaky roof for several years. Much of the kevlar was in poor condition and had become so brittle that the factory workers had to pound it to make it pliable enough to fit. A DOJ report noted that manufacturing documents were altered by inmates at the direction of FPI staff that falsely indicated the helmets passed inspection and had met contract specifications.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.