HII to pay $9.2m to settle government overbilling allegations


Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has agreed to a $9.2m settlement of a lawsuit alleging that the company has knowingly overbilled the US Government for work carried out on US Navy and US Coast Guard (USCG) vessels at its shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The US-based shipbuilder will be required to make a payment of $7.9m for violating the False Claims Act (FCA), which when combined with earlier repayments will result in the total recovery sum of $9.2m.

HII is claimed to have mischarged the government for labour carried out as part of particular contracts to other contracts, even though the costs were not actually incurred under the agreements specified.

The settlement resolves false claims disclosed by the company that it had billed the US Navy and the USCG for dive operations to support the construction of the vessel's hull.

"This settlement demonstrates, once again, that we will not tolerate defence contractors who falsely charge the armed forces or any agency of the US."

US Department of Justice Civil Division acting assistant attorney general Chad A. Readler said: “Contractors that knowingly bill the government in violation of contract terms will face serious consequences.

“This settlement demonstrates, once again, that we will not tolerate defence contractors who falsely charge the armed forces or any agency of the US.”

The civil settlement also resolves alleged mischarging of labour on several US Navy and USCG contracts dating back to 2003.

The allegations against HII were originally raised in a lawsuit brought by former employee Bryon Faulkner under the FCA's qui tam, or whistleblower provisions, which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and subsequently share in any recovered funds.