Whistleblower reports overpriced parts in federal contract

A former assistant controller of a subsidiary of an aircraft company has filed a lawsuit in Milwaukee against her employer after she was terminated. According to the former employee, she was fired as a result of her whistleblower action. According to the woman, her former employer inflated the price for parts sold to the United States government as part of a federal contract.

The plaintiff in the case was originally hired in 2002 as a financial analyst until she became the company’s assistant controller for financial reporting and compliance in 2003. The former assistant controller said that the company marked the parts up by 20 percent, despite a provision in a Navy contract saying that the company was required to provide the parts at cost. When the company sent the parts to the government, the invoices did not mention the markup. The plaintiff was responsible for preparing documents regarding the parts between July 2006 and September 2010. She reported the issue to the company, but eventually she reported it to the U.S. government accounting manager when no action was taken.

United States attorneys decided to intervene in the lawsuit. Additionally, the U.S. attorneys said that they plan to file their own complaint within 60 days. The original complaint was filed in 2011. However, when the U.S. attorneys chose to intervene, the case was unsealed. The woman is seeking $50 million in damages for the markups and the woman’s later termination. However, the woman’s attorney says that the case’s value could be triple that figure under federal law.

Individuals who report illegal actions by their employers may be protected under certain state or federal laws. In order to learn if their action is protected, individuals may consult with an employment lawyer who could review the case and suggest a strategy for pursuing compensation.

Source: The Courant, “Feds Join Whistleblower Case Against Sikorsky,” Brian Dowling, Aug. 15, 2014

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