Military Professional Resources, Inc. (“MPRI”) based in Alexandria, Virginia has agreed to pay $3.2 million to settle a whistleblower’s allegations in a qui tam lawsuit that it violated the False Claims Act. According to the whistleblower’s complaint, MPRI is an operational division of a private military contractor – Level 3 Communications – headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado. MPRI primarily provides services to the federal government in the national and homeland security sectors.
According to the Justice Department, the allegations center on a contract between MPRI and the U.S. Army to provide support for the Army in Kabul, Afghanistan. According to the whistleblower’s complaint, the contract was issued by the U.S. Army’s Research, Development, and Engineering Command and provided compensation to MPRI on a time-and-materials basis not to exceed $428.5 million.
Specifically, the Complaint asserted that the contract called for MPRI to provide support to NATO Training Mission Afghanistan and Central Command through the Army Security Assistance Command’s Foreign Military Sales Program. Essentially, MPRI was to support the Army in re-designing and constructing a new Afghan Defense Sector. The government claims MPRI was contractually obligated to provide support for the development and implementation of core systems for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, including logistical and acquisition training, installation management, and intelligence, among other things.
A former employee of MPRI, Byron Scott Lankford, filed a whistleblower complaint under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act in Ohio in 2010. The whistleblower alleged that, between 2005 and 2010, MPRI submitted bills to the government for work purportedly performed by employees who were on leave and out of the country. The whistleblower was employed as a finance officer for MPRI in Afghanistan in 2007. In 2008, the whistleblower was promoted to contract support.
The Justice Department announced that MPRI has agreed to pay $3.2 million to settle the allegations that it submitted false labor charges to the federal government. The whistleblower will receive $576,000 as his reward under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.
To see if you may have a viable qui tam case, or to read additional information on qui tam actions, False Claims Act cases and government whistleblowers, read here.