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Oklahoma Company Pays $850,000 in False Claims Settlement Related to Charges of Illegal Transport and Disposal of HazMat

On March 28, 2007, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma approved settlement of a civil action resulting in the payment of $850,000 by a hazardous waste remediation company, Environmental Management, Inc. (EMI), located in Guthrie, OK. EMI contracted with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for the cleanup, removal, and storage of hazardous waste seized by law enforcement authorities from illegal drug labs. From October 1997 through September 2002, EMI or its subcontractors responded to more than 13,000 calls for lab cleanups and were paid more than $35 million under the DEA contract. In 2004, a former worker filed a Qui Tam suit alleging that, among other things, EMI violated the False Claims Act through false billings and erroneously representing that it was in compliance with applicable federal regulations governing the transportation, storage, and destruction of hazardous materials. Following an investigation, including assistance provided by DOT OIG, the United States intervened in the action. Both EMI and its president have denied any wrongdoing and liability. The settlement agreement included dismissal of the Qui Tam lawsuit.