WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Department of Justice
announced Nov. 23 that Bechtel National Inc., Bechtel Corp., URS Corp.
(predecessor in interest to AECOM Global II LLC) and URS Energy and
Construction Inc. (now known as AECOM Energy and Construction Inc.) will pay
$125 million after False Claims Act violation allegations.
The companies purportedly charged the Department of Energy
(DOE) for deficient nuclear quality materials, services and testing that was
provided at the waste treatment plant (WTP) at DOE’s
Hanford Site near Richland, Washington. The Department of Justice saw these
acts as false statements and claims.
“The money allocated by Congress
for the waste treatment plant is intended to fund the Department of Energy’s
important mission to clean up the contaminated Hanford nuclear site, and this
mission is undermined if funds are wasted on goods or services that are not
nuclear compliant or to further lobbying activities,”
said principal deputy assistant attorney general Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the
Justice Department’s Civil Division.
Between 2002 and the present, DOE has paid billions of
dollars to the defendants. The funds were to be used to build the WTP, a plant
that could treat dangerous radioactive wastes stored at the site at Hanford.
“The DOE Office of Inspector
General is committed to ensuring the integrity of Departmental contracts and
financial expenditures,” said acting inspector general
Rickey R. Hass. “We will continue to steadfastly
investigate allegations of fraudulent diversion of tax dollars throughout DOE
programs and appreciate the support of DOJ attorneys in these matters.”