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Aerospace Fraud

Aerospace Fraud and the Whistleblower

The aerospace industry is a high technology field with applications in research, development, manufacturing and operation of aircraft and spacecraft. Some aerospace companies manufacture aircraft, propulsion units, space vehicles, satellites, and related parts and components for the United States Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under the terms of government contracts. These companies may also be paid by the government to develop, upgrade or fix aging technology and equipment as needed.

Aerospace companies covet defense contracts with the federal government. In some cases, these contracts can be worth many millions, if not billions of dollars. This amount of money changing hands opens the door to fraud and abuse.

Wisner Baum Settles Boeing Aerospace Whistleblower Case for $18 Million

The Boeing Company has agreed to pay $18 million to settle whistleblower allegations claiming the world’s largest aerospace company improperly charged the government for aircraft maintenance. Whistleblower James Thomas Webb, Jr., represented by Wisner Baum whistleblower attorney Mark H. Schlein and will receive a reward of over $3 million for exposing the alleged aerospace fraud.

Boeing was under government contract to perform maintenance on the C-17 Globemaster aircraft at Long Beach Depot between 2006 and 2013. According to Mr. Webb, the aerospace company allegedly submitted claims during this time for 8-hour work shifts performed by its employees, even though the billed for hours included time spent at lunch and extended breaks. Billing for hours which were not reimbursable under the terms of the government contract caused the government to drastically overpay for the aircraft maintenance, according to the whistleblower lawsuit.

When an aerospace manufacturer submits false claims about the technology they manufacture or the services they provide to the government, they are, in effect, stealing taxpayer dollars by committing fraud.

Aerospace fraud schemes can include many types of corrupt conduct, including, but not limited to, deliberately inflating the charges on a particular contract with the Department of Defense or NASA, supplying defective parts, or failing to meet the specifications of a contract. Whatever the scheme, the end result is bilking money from our defense budget.

Aerospace fraud is investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other federal agencies, frequently as the result of complaints filed by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act.

Examples of Aerospace Fraud

The Justice Department pursued a complaint against Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, alleging that Sikorsky and two of its subsidiaries, Sikorsky Support Services and Derco Aerospace Inc., overbilled for parts and materials that were used to maintain Navy Aircraft. In filing the complaint, DOJ joined a whistleblower lawsuit that had been filed by a former Derco employee. According to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, Sikorsky billed the government using special software that hid an illegal 20 percent markup for the parts. The amount of the overbilling was reported to be nearly $50 million, a figure which would entitle the whistleblower to a multimillion dollar reward of between 15 and 25 percent of the money recovered by the government.

In another case, the Boeing Company paid $23 million to resolve allegations that it improperly charged the U.S. Air Force for labor costs in connection with the repair and maintenance of C-17 Globemaster aircraft. The C-17 is used to transport troops and cargo around the world. The allegations were originally brought in a qui tam lawsuit by four Boeing Company employees under the FCA. The four split a whistleblower award of $3.9 million as their share of the settlement.

One of the largest aerospace fraud settlements in history came in 2009 when aerospace giant Northrop Grumman paid $325 million to settle FCA allegations that TRW, Inc., a company which Northrop Grumman acquired in 2002, had provided defective parts for spy satellites in the 1990s. The charges were first raised in a qui tam lawsuit brought by whistleblower Robert Ferro, an electrical engineer for a private research company that tested the parts for TRW in 1995. Ferro discovered the parts would likely fail if used in satellites but his findings were suppressed by TRW. He received a whistleblower award of $48.8 million.

If you are aware of aerospace fraud and are considering legal action, the experienced Wisner Baum whistleblower team can assist you in filing a whistleblower lawsuit. Expert legal assistance can protect your rights, gives you the best chance of a successful outcome and can maximize the size of your reward.

Our Case Results

  • $10 Million Settlement A Major Foreign Plane Crash

    Wisner Baum obtained a $10 million settlement for the death of a passenger in a major foreign plane crash.

  • $14 Million Settlement A Major US Plane Crash

    Wisner Baum obtained a $14 million settlement for the death of a passenger in a major US plane crash.

  • $17.5 Million Settlement A Major US Plane Crash

    Wisner Baum obtained a $17.5 million settlement on behalf of a client who was killed in a major U.S. plane crash.

  • $10 Million Settlement Celexa-Lexapro Pediatric Class Action

    $10 million pediatric class action re false promotion of Celexa and Lexapro. Babies born to women who have used Lexapro and other similar medications such as Zoloft, Celexa, Prozac, Paxil, and Symbyax are at an increased risk for birth defects.

  • $8.5 Million Verdict Commercial Truck Accident

    Wisner Baum secured a $8.5 million wrongful death verdict against the food industry company, Tyson Foods, for the wrongful death of a young man.

  • $28 Million Settlement Defective Drug Class Action

    $28 million Paxil defective drug class action. A class action has been brought in the US territory of Puerto Rico against UK-based drug major GlaxoSmithKline.

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