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Civil Charges Filed Against Oregon Corporation and its President for Violating the False Claims Act on Federally-Funded Contract

On December 29, 2015, a civil complaint was filed in U.S. District Court, Portland, OR, against Pacific Coast Maritime Agency (PCMA) and its president, Paul Sogotis, for submitting false invoices to the United States to perform services on vessels throughout Oregon.

DOT-OIG’s investigation revealed that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) had an agreement with Interocean American Shipping (IAS) which designated IAS as a general agent for MARAD to manage two of its vessels, the Pacific Collector and Pacific Tracker. During 2009 through 2011, IAS contracted with PCMA to serve as a ship agent to obtain tug services for the vessels. From 2009 through 2011, PCMA retained Shaver Transportation Company (Shaver) to provide services as requested and fully performed its obligations to PCMA. Shaver submitted invoices to PCMA for services. PCMA altered the Shaver invoices by increasing certain charges and by deleting discounts provided by Shaver. The altered invoices were submitted to IAS and MARAD for payment. MARAD paid the altered invoices resulting in an overpayment in excess of $56,000 to PCMA.