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Texas-Based Corporation to Pay $4 Million to U.S. Amid Washington Fraud and Kickback Scandal

Tony West - justice.gov

A Texas-based company will pay $4 million to resolve allegations that they submitted false claims, and paid and received kickbacks.

Fluor Hanford Inc. has agreed to pay the United States the sizable sum to resolve the allegations relating to a contract operating and managing a mixed radioactive waste site at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Nuclear Site in Hanford, Washington.

Between 2003 and 2008, Fluor employed Susanna Zuniga, Gregory Detloff, and Paul Kempf as material coordinators and during that time, they reportedly made hundreds of fraudulent purchases using government purchase cards, and funneled Department of Energy funds to themselves.

Internal audits between 2001 and 2008 alerted Fluor to weaknesses in its purchase card controls, and failed to address these weaknesses, allowing the three to exploit the system for multiple years.

Also, at least 14 Fluor material coordinators solicited, received, and accepted kickbacks from a Hanford-area vendor known as Fast Pipe and Supply Company. The kickbacks ranged from cash, tickets to sporting events, and gift cards, meant to influence the coordinators to purchase from Fast rather than competing vendors.

Five former Fluor employees have been indicted for their participation in the schemes. Four have pleaded guilty, and the fifth is awaiting trial.

Assistant Attorney General Tony West commented on this type of illicit behavior, saying “Vigorously prosecuting financial fraud is one of the Justice Department’s top priorities. Government contractors who line their bank accounts with kickbacks or money from fraudulent claims undermine the public’s trust and will continue to attract our enforcement attention.”

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