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Sikorsky Aircraft Company has consented to pay a hefty sum to settle fraud charges surrounding the company’s contract to supply the Army with Black Hawk helicopters. Sikorsky, a division of United Technologies Corporation, is located in Stratford, Connecticut. Sikorsky manufactures the helicopter for four branches of the military and for foreign nations. The Army’s contract with Sikorsky mandated that the Black Hawks should be equipped with armored plates to protect the pilot and copilot. Although the contract specified that the plates be ballistically tested, the government charged that from 1991 to 2006, Sikorsky intentionally outfitted the helicopters with armored plates that had not been properly tested for their ability to withstand combat. The noncompliant plates were supplied to Sikorsky by Ceradyne Corporation, located in Costa Mesa, California.
The federal False Claims Act provides that a government contractor who intentionally requests payment for noncompliant goods may be liable to pay three times the government’s actual damages as well as a civil penalty for each false claim presented for payment.
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