US intervenes in whistleblower's suit against contractor at Hanford nuclear site

by Ben Vernia | September 28th, 2012

On September 28, the Department of Justice announced that the government had intervened in a qui tam relator’s False Claims Act suit against CH2M Hill Hanford Group, a Department of Energy contractor at the Hanford, Washington nuclear weapons production site. According to DOJ’s press release:

The government has intervened in a lawsuit against CH2M Hill Hanford Group Inc. (CH2M Hill) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, the Department of Justice announced today. CH2M Hill is a subsidiary of CH2M Hill Companies Ltd., a Colorado-based engineering and construction services company.

Between 1999 and 2008, CH2M Hill was a U.S. Department of Energy prime contractor responsible for the management and cleanup of over 170 underground storage tanks containing mixed radioactive and hazardous waste at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Nuclear Site in southeastern Washington. The lawsuit filed by Mr. Schroeder alleges that numerous CH2M Hill hourly employees regularly and substantially overstated the number of hours that they worked. The complaint also alleges that CH2M Hill management knowingly condoned this practice and submitted inflated claims to the Department of Energy that included the fraudulently claimed hours.

Eight former CH2M Hill employees, including Mr. Schroeder, have pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from the time card fraud. The lawsuit was originally filed under the False Claims Act by Carl Schroeder, a former employee of CH2M Hill.

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