WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — Jacintoport International LLC and Seaboard Marine Ltd. will pay $1.075 million after allegations of violating the False Claims Act, the Department of Justice has announced. The allegations relate to a warehouse and logistics contract for the storage and re-delivery of humanitarian food aid.
“USAID’s humanitarian food aid program provides critical assistance to starving people all over the world,” said principal deputy assistant attorney general Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Justice Department will hold accountable those who seek to abuse this important program.”
The allegations, initially filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, stated the companies charged ocean carriers more for stevedore work than is permitted to load more than 50,000 tons of humanitarian food aid. Stevedoring charges relate to how much a business can charge ocean carriers to load humanitarian food aid onto ships. The alleged stevedoring inflation was then passed onto the United States to pay.
“It is unacceptable for companies that do business with the federal government to inflate their costs,” said U.S. attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia. “This settlement demonstrates our determination to protect the taxpayers’ dollars – and humanitarian programs – from abuse.”
Ship contractor John Raggio will receive $215,000 for whistleblowing.