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SAIC pays $5.75M to settle false claims case

Jul. 3, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By JIM McELHATTON   |   Comments

Defense contractor SAIC has agreed to pay $5.75 million to settle accusations the company circumvented the bidding process to win millions of dollars in Air Force contract work.

Unsealed Tuesday, the False Claims Act case was filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, Fla., in 2010 by a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, Timothy Ferner, who had previously worked as the chief of staff for the Coalition and Irregular Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, where SAIC was a contractor.

The complaint stemmed from a 2006 General Services Administration blanket purchase order awarded to SAIC for engineering and consulting services on “new products and emerging technologies,” according to the Justice Department, which joined the case last month.

The Justice Department said in an announcement Wednesday that SAIC personnel provided false information to GSA contracting officials to win the blanket purchase order award.

In particular, SAIC “caused another individual to falsely represent himself as an employee of the Senior Executive Staff of the Department of Defense and the Director of another federal agency,” according to DOJ. The DOJ statement does not identify the individual or explain further that individual’s role in the case.

The U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., awarded numerous task orders to SAIC under the blanket purchase agreement, according to a Justice Department statement released Wednesday.

Ferner had concerns about waste and abuse and how SAIC was executing the task orders at his facility, according to a law firm that represented him in the case.

“We were basically paying guys to sit around at computers and play games,” Ferner said in a statement Wednesday provided by the James Hoyer law firm.

An SAIC spokeswoman said the company disputed Ferner’s complaint, but settled the case to avoided protracted litigation. The Department of Justice joined in the settlement agreement.

“SAIC was and continues to be fully cooperative with the federal government and transparent in disclosure of information to the DOJ,” SAIC spokeswoman Jennifer Gephart wrote in an email.

“SAIC continues to operate as an extremely ethical and professional company, with the goal of always providing our customers with the highest level of technical expertise to help them meet their mission and/or goals.”

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