Case DescriptionCase Type: Whistleblower/ Qui Tam
Company: Navistar Defense and Navistar International
On December 2, 2019, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia unsealed a six-year-old qui tam complaint filed by a whistleblower. The complaint sought $1.28 billion dollars in damages from Navistar Defense and Navistar International for violations of the False Claims Act.
According to the complaint, Navistar forged invoices, catalogue prices, and other data during the negotiations of a multi-billion-dollar defense contract for Mine Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles. These fabricated and fraudulent representations underlie both the initial contract award, as well as the delivery orders placed under the contract between 2007 and 2012.
In 2013, Duquoin Burgess filed the complaint against Navistar on behalf of himself and the United States after witnessing the company’s fraudulent conduct. Mr. Burgess was a former Contract Director at Navistar. In 2019, the United States Government intervened in the case , announcing it will partner with the legal team at Sanford Heisler Sharp in prosecuting the case against Navistar.
About the Case
The complaint alleges that Navistar used false and misleading documents to support alleged “commercial prices” for vehicle parts, like chassis, engines, and suspension systems. The forged and fraudulent documents allegedly were intended to conceal that the vehicle parts either had no commercial sales history, and when they did, the commercial prices were roughly half the price that defendants charged the Government under their contracts.
Navistar allegedly made use of forgeries to avoid the requirement of in the contract that stipulates the company must present real evidence of previous sales. According to Burgess’s complaint, Navistar certified the truthfulness of the false and misleading cost and pricing data on all but one of the delivery orders placed under the contract.
Not only does the complaint allege that Navistar’s fraud began as early as contract formation, but it also asserts that the company’s executive leadership, including its former President and Vice President, supported and participated in perpetrating this extensive fraud scheme against the Government.
Above all else, the federal government’s contract procurement system requires honesty to ensure that the Government is protected from unscrupulous vendors. The complaint against Navistar claims the company took advantage of this procurement system, as well as the Government’s critical need for MRAP vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan, to engage in a pervasive and long-running scheme to charge the U.S. Government ridiculously inflated prices for vehicle parts.
H. Vincent McKnight, Jr., Managing Partner of Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP’s Washington, D.C. Office and co-chair of the firm’s whistleblower practice, is representing Mr. Burgess in this case. Attorney McKnight is a former U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee Kevin Sharp and also Managing Partner of Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP’s Nashville Office. The United States is represented by Darrell Valdez, Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia, and Gary Newkirk, Department of Justice Trial Attorney.
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At Sanford Heisler Sharp, we proudly represent whistleblowers and have helped recover billions of dollars for the U.S. Government and a number of state governments under a variety of statutes and programs. We know firsthand that whistleblowers need the support and assistance of experienced counsel if they want to successfully navigate the modern corporate environment. Get in touch with our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys today to discuss your whistleblower claim and what we can do to help you pursue justice.
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