Federal whistleblower litigation has been settled between Virginia Beach-based defense contractor Atlantic Diving Supply (ADS) and the federal government. The Simmer Law Group represented the plaintiff, Ameliorate Partners, which alleged that ADS violated the federal False Claims Act (FCA) by illegally obtaining government contracts designated for small businesses and businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans and service-disabled veterans. The reported settlement amount is $16 million the whistleblower will receive $2.9 million for its involvement.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the settlement on August 10th and maintained that the resolution settles the allegations of improper bid rigging and does not determine liability. According to the DOJ, the settlement with ADS resolves allegations that ADS, together with several purported small businesses that it controlled, fraudulently induced the government to award certain small business set-aside contracts by misrepresenting eligibility requirements.
The settlement is thought to be among the largest small business contracting fraud matters of its kind. ADS supplies equipment and logistics solutions to the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
“Contractors who misrepresent their eligibility for government contracts not only undermine the integrity of the procurement process, but also harm legitimate small businesses vying for set-aside contracts,” stated Andrew Miller of the Simmer Law Group. “Our clients feel vindicated for having come forward and appreciate the collective efforts of the Department of Justice and the affected federal agencies for their diligence and dedication.”