The allegations involve maintenance performed by Airlift on two US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) contracts, specifically helicopters that Airlift owned and maintained for use in transporting Department of Defense (DoD) cargo and personnel in support of DoD missions in Afghanistan and Africa. The settlement resolves allegations that Airlift knowingly failed to maintain nine aircrafts in accordance with contract requirements, and that because of this failure, the helicopters were not airworthy and should not have been certified by Airlift as ‘fully mission capable’.
AAR and Airlift have also agreed to pay $429,273.69 to resolve a separate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) matter, citing deficiencies in Airlift’s helicopter maintenance.
“Our military is entitled to rely on high level contractor performance when it procures essential services like those at issue here,” said Acting US Attorney Karin Hoppmann for the Middle District of Florida. “We are grateful for the diligent and collaborative work put into this investigation by the Southern District of Illinois, the Department of Justice Civil Frauds Section and all of the investigative agencies who supported these cases.”
‘Unnecessary threat to our nation’s military readiness’
“The failure to perform critical maintenance to Department of Defense aircraft poses a grave and unnecessary threat to our nation’s military readiness,” added Special Agent in Charge Michael DeFamio of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Central Field Office. “NCIS and our federal law enforcement partners remain committed to fully investigating any and all allegations of contract fraud that compromise the safety of our service members and waste American taxpayer money.”
The civil settlement includes the resolution of claims brought under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Christopher Harvey, a former Airlift employee. The act permits private parties to sue for false claims on behalf of the US and to share in any recovery.