The founder and former president of Second Chance Body Armor, Richard Davis, has agreed to settle with the government after a sale of defective bullet proof vests that lead to life-threatening situations. The vests were purchased for federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. Under the False Claims Act, Davis will have to relinquish over a million dollars in assets.
The Bullet Proof Vests
Second Chance sold body armor to government agencies and then was reimbursed by the Department of Justice Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) program. The DOJ alleged that Second Chance’s vests were defective when exposed to heat and humidity. They basically lose the ability to stop ballistic fire. The Department of Justice also claims that Davis knew about the faulty nature of the vests.
The DOJ says that Davis pocketed the money that could have improved the vests even though he knew Second Chance’s Zylon body armor was degrading at what he described as a “disappointing” rate. They claim Davis then tried to sell the company rather than correct the issues.
The False Claims Act
“Fraudulently presenting false claims to the government regarding products intended to protect the lives of public servants is illegal and utterly unacceptable,” said Carol F. Ochoa, Inspector General of the U.S. General Services Administration.
Aaron Westrick, a former employee of Second Chance, sued under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act. This settlement also partially settles his case and the investigation of using Zylon in bullet proof products.
While Davis was pursuing the sale of Second Chance an officer in Forest Hills, Pennsylvania police officer was shot through his Second Chance Zylon vest. After the news broke, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2004 and was liquidated.
Further tests showed that more than 50 percent of the material used in the vests (Zylon) could not stop bullets. These were among some of the worst performing vests tested. Zylon is no longer used in ballistic vests.
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