Florida Design and Engineering Firm Pays $6.4 Million to Settle False Claims Act Claims
On January 24, 2007, PBS&J, a Florida-based design and engineering firm paid $6.4 million to resolve claims that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting false and fraudulent claims to the Federal government. FHWA and FAA were among a dozen federal agencies affected by the false claims.
The settlement arises from a $36 million embezzlement scheme occurring between 1992 and 2005 that was perpetrated by the company's chief financial officer and two accounting department employees. The scheme involved shifting funds and fabricating entries in the company's books and records to conceal the fraud. The fraudulent entries resulted in an overstated audited overhead rate. The settlement also resolved PBS&J treatment of certain unallowable indirect costs that also contributed to the company's overstated audited overhead rate. The civil investigation was conducted by OIG, the Civil Division of the Justice Department and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida investigated the criminal case.