The government has intervened in a lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act against United States Investigations Services LLC (USIS) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, the Department of Justice announced today. The lawsuit alleges that USIS, located in Falls Church, Va., failed to perform quality control reviews in connection with its background investigations for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
The lawsuit was filed by a former employee of USIS, Blake Percival, under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private parties, known as relators, to sue on behalf of the government when they believe false claims for government funds have been submitted. The private party is entitled to receive a share of any funds recovered through the lawsuit. The False Claims Act also permits the government to investigate the allegations made in the relator’s complaint and to decide whether to intervene in the lawsuit, and to recover three times its damages plus civil penalties. The government is intervening now based on the results of its investigation of the relator’s allegations and has requested that the court give it until Jan. 22, 2014, to file its own complaint.
“We will not tolerate shortcuts taken by companies that we have entrusted with vetting individuals to be given access to our country’s sensitive and secret information,” said Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Justice Department will take action against those who charge the taxpayers for services they failed to provide, especially when their non-performance could place our country’s security at risk.”
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