Former employees sue Blackwater for defrauding U.S.

Blackwater Worldwide, the already notorious private security company hired by the government in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been sued by two of its former employees in a False Claims Act lawsuit originally filed in December 2008. The ex-workers allege that for years the company has filed fraudulent receipts, double billed for services and charged the government for prostitutes and strippers. The deception, according to the lawsuit, involved the company’s work in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. In addition, the whistleblowers accuse Blackwater of ignoring the use of “excessive and unjustified” force by Blackwater guards against Iraqi civilians.

The ex-employees are Brad and Melan Davis, a married couple who decided to file the case to expose the truth about the company. Mr. Davis, who is a former Marine, worked as a private security guard in Iraq and held a variety of other jobs with Blackwater. Ms. Davis used to handle accounts for Blackwater’s contracts with the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Ms. Davis alleges that she notified her bosses of her concerns about irregularities in the company’s bookkeeping, but was told to keep quiet. She also claims that the company kept a prostitute on its payroll in Afghanistan and billed the Filipino woman’s air fare and monthly salary to the U.S. Government. In addition, asserts Davis, the company used one of its subsidiaries, Greystone Ltd., to double bill for Blackwater employees’ air fare between the U.S. and the Middle East.

The Justice Department has declined to intervene in the case. Under such circumstances, should the lawsuit result in a recovery for the government, the husband and wife whistleblowers will share in a larger portion of the proceeds than if the U.S. had elected to participate in the case.

For more information, go to the New York Times.

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