The U.S. Justice Department has brought a complaint against a Reston company, alleging that the company fraudulently provided unqualified personnel under a $10 million contract with the federal government to provide trained security guards at an Iraqi airbase.
The complaint was filed Oct. 25 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.
It alleges that Reston-based private security firm Triple Canopy Inc., was awarded a one-year, $10 million government contract to provide security services at the Al Asad Airbase in Iraq, the second largest U.S. airbase in the country.
The government’s complaint alleges that Triple Canopy knowingly billed the United States for hundreds of foreign nationals it hired as security guards who could not meet firearms proficiency tests established by the Army and required under the contract.
Court documents state the tests ensure that security guards hired to protect U.S. and allied personnel are capable of firing their AK-47 assault rifles and other weapons safely and accurately.
The government also alleges in its complaint that Triple Canopy’s managers in Iraq falsified test scorecards as a cover-up to induce the government to pay for the unqualified guards, and that Triple Canopy continued to bill the government even after high-level officials at the company’s headquarters had been alerted to the misconduct. The complaint further alleges that Triple Canopy used the false qualification records in an attempt to persuade the government to award the company a second year of security work at the Al Asad Airbase.
“For a government contractor to knowingly provide deficient security services, as is alleged in this case, is unthinkable, especially in war time,” Stuart F. Delery, acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, said in a statement. “The department will do everything it can to ensure that contractors comply with critical contract requirements and that contractors who don’t comply aren’t permitted to profit at the expense of our men and women in uniform and the taxpayers at home who support them.”
The government’s claims are based on a whistleblower suit initially filed in 2011 by a former employee of Triple Canopy. The suit was filed under the whistleblower provision of the federal False Claims Act, which allows private persons to file suit on behalf of the United States. Under the act, the government has a period of time to investigate the allegations and decide whether to intervene in the action or to decline intervention and allow the whistleblower to go forward alone.
The Justice Department claims the U.S. government paid a total of $10.4 million to Triple Canopy and is seeking triple damages in its suit.
A Triple Canopy spokesperson only would say in a statement that “on advice of counsel, Triple Canopy is unable to comment due to pending litigation surrounding this matter.”