PoleZero to pay $2.8M for false claims allegations

QUANTICO, Va. -- Department of Defense contractor PoleZero Corporation agreed to pay the United States $2,800,000 to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act, that the company submitted false claims to the Air Force for communications equipment.

The settlement was announced jointly by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service - Mid-Atlantic Field Office; Brig. Gen. Keith M. Givens, Commander Air Force Office of Special Investigations; and Special Agent in Charge Darrell Gilliard of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Washington Field Office.

"Defense contractors are expected to ensure the equipment they provide meets the expectations of the contract," Rosenstein said. "The military needs to be able to depend on the quality of the products it purchases."

Pole Zero is a subcontractor owned by Dover Corporation since 2007 that provided radio frequency filters and integrated co-site equipment to the Air Force for use in its E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft program. 

The settlement agreement resolves allegations that from 2004-2013 Pole Zero knowingly provided RF filters and ICE equipment that failed to meet contractual specifications. PoleZero denies the allegations.

"Getting what you pay for is something we all should expect," Craig said. "DCIS and its law enforcement partners remain steadfast in expecting contractors to adhere to agreements made with the government when providing products and services."

The civil settlement resolves a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act, which permits private parties to file suit on behalf of the United States for false claims and obtain a portion of the government's recovery.  The civil lawsuit was filed in the District of Maryland.

As part of the Aug. 20 resolution, the Relator will receive $504,000 from the settlement.

The settlement was a result of a joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, U.S. Department of Justice, DCIS, AFOSI and NCIS.  Rosenstein commended the Defense Contract Audit Agency for their assistance in the investigation. 

The investigation was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas H. Barnard and Thomas F. Corcoran and Senior Trial Counsel Dan Spiro from the Department of Justice.

Editor's Notes: The case was investigated by AFOSI Procurement Fraud Det 6, JB Andrews, Md. The U.S. Department of Justice and AFOSI Procurement Fraud contributed to this story.