The law firm of Teller & Associates, PLLC, recently successfully pursued a claim that Lucent Technologies World Services Inc. (LTWSI) had violated their contracts with the U.S. Government in a fraudulent effort to be overpaid. It was all done through the help of a determined whistleblower.
In March 2004, LTWSI, a subsidiary of global telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent, was awarded with a $250 million contract by the U.S. Army. According to the contract, the company was to build an emergency response and first responder communications system called the Advanced First Responder Network (AFRN) in Iraq.
The AFRN was considered an essential piece in U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq. It was intended to give Iraqi citizens an emergency response system to call for police, fire, or medical assistance, and was intended to be made up of two separate independent but connected areas.
As part of the contract, LTWSI was required to conduct thorough tests on the AFRN system to ensure it was working. Between January and July 2005, the company allegedly submitted multiple documents to the U.S. Army stating it had completed successful tests and that the AFRN system “as a whole” was in proper working condition and ready to be used.
According to the government, many of the certificates submitted to the U.S. Army were not accurate. LTWSI had skipped many of the tests altogether and submitted fraudulent certifications.
The Whistleblower and the Attorney
Teller’s client, a former LTWSI senior contract manager for the AFRN project, found the company’s devious practices appalling. He raised the issues on the job and was quickly fired. He sought the legal assistance of attorney Stephen A. Teller, of Teller & Associates, PLLC, and together they filed a whistleblower, or qui tam, lawsuit in December 2008. Working closely with the government, the plaintiffs built a formidable False Claims case against LTWSI.
The case claimed LTWSI committed False Claims Act violations by submitting falsified certifications to the U.S. government; motivated by the desire to get paid faster and to obtain an $8.5 million bonus for rapid completion of the project.
Rather than fight the claim, LTWSI agreed to pay $4.2 million as part of the settlement agreement.
After the whistleblower experienced workplace retaliation and was fired from LTWSI, he was commended by the government for his efforts and received $758,000, his rightful cut of the settlement amount as determined by the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act in addition to a confidential resolution of his wrongful termination claim.
Working to Right Wrongs
Stephen A. Teller and his colleagues at Teller & Associates, PLLC, are proud to have worked with their whistleblowing client in bringing LTWSI to justice. However, there are and will always be many individuals and companies who make a business out of committing fraud against governments. If you possess knowledge of fraudulent actions, call our Seattle whistle blower attorneys today at (206) 324-8969. It’s our job to help you make things right.