False Claims Act litigation yields penalty for defense company

We referenced so-called “qui tam” lawsuits (cases filed by plaintiffs on behalf of both those individuals and the government) under the U.S. False Claims Act in a prior blog post. We noted in our January 24 entry that such claims, which target fraud against the federal government, apply to “a gamut of schemes” focused upon all manner of industries and concerns.

One of those is the military, a sector where fraud can have obviously outsized adverse effects if not timely spotted and stopped.

A former Lockheed Martin engineer is now being publicly noted for the central role he played as a whistleblower spotlighting fraud that compromised mission requirements and safety involving the U.S. Coast Guard.

That individual was tasked some years back to investigate reported glitches by Coast Guard officials in radio communications equipment manufactured by Lockheed. The engineer discovered that multi-million-dollar “simultaneous operations” technology installed on Coast Guard vessels was not performing as promised and endangering lives as a result.

A recent news account of the story reports that the engineer was rebuffed and eventually laid off by Lockheed Martin after he “repeatedly reported the problem to his superiors.”

He persisted as a qui tam whistleblower, alerting the government of fraud and the potential imperilment to military personnel and operations wrought by the defective technology.

And he ultimately prevailed, with a settlement reached earlier this month between Lockheed Martin and the federal government mandating a $4.4 million payment from the former to settle fines and make repairs.

And, notably, to compensate the engineer, who unquestionably took a professional risk in acting purposefully and bravely to promote the interests of the government, military and taxpayers. He will receive a $990,000 award for his efforts.