El Dorado Hills Defense Contractor Agrees To Pay $1 Million To Settle Fraud Case

by Placerville Newswire / Oct 17, 2018 / comments

[U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California]

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — United States Attorney McGregor Scott announced today that Alpha Research & Technology, Inc. (“ART”), an El Dorado Hills company that provides command and control systems to the U.S. Air Force, has agreed to pay the United States $1 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly submitting inflated contract pricing to the government. 

About ART Team: Composed of senior management with decades of military and commercial management, leadership, and sales/marketing experience; a second-to-none engineering cadre comprised of both senior and intern Systems, Mechanical, and Electrical/Electronic engineers, all with a wide range of DoD and private sector experience; manufacturing, assembly, and testing experts with aviation experience; accomplished quality assurance, purchasing, shipping and receiving personnel; extremely knowledgeable technical writers and document control staff; and a dedicated, experienced administrative and support staff. 

Between 2006 and 2011, ART submitted subcontract proposals to prime contractors including The Raytheon Company and The Boeing Company that were to be included in firm-fixed-price proposals made by those prime contractors to the Department of Defense.  In submitting its proposals, ART knowingly included millions of dollars in personal expenses of its owners Donne and DeAnn Smith, which ART knew were unallowable in government contracting. Those expenses included payments for the design and construction of the Smiths’ luxury personal residence in Amador County, luxury cars, a personal caretaker, and a weekend at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. 

The False Claims Act allows the government to recover damages and penalties for the presentation of false claims for payment to the United States. By improperly basing its government subcontract proposals on unallowable costs, ART caused the United States to pay improperly inflated prices.

“It is a priority of this office to safeguard public coffers against fraud and abuse that affect the integrity of federal contracting programs,” said U.S. Attorney Scott. “We will continue to work closely with our federal law enforcement partners to address the unnecessary expenditure of taxpayer funds, and results like this one help accomplish that objective.”

Chris Hendrickson, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Western Field Office, said, “Padding government contracts with personal expenses is an act of greed that diverts taxpayer dollars away from the critical support of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.  DCIS is committed to working with partner agencies to root out fraud in Department of Defense contracting.”

“Cost mischarging schemes such as this cheat the Air Force and ultimately the American taxpayer,” said Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agent in Charge Cornelius King. “I appreciate the dedicated efforts of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, The Defense Contract Audit Agency, and the U.S. Attorney's office who helped hold this Air Force contractor accountable.”

The settlement is the product of a joint investigation by DCIS, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen M. Kennedy handled the case for the United States. The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.