Two airlines settle False Claims Act allegations over misreporting mail delivery

by Ben Vernia | November 14th, 2018

On November 13, the Department of Justice announced that British Airways and Iberia Airlines had agreed to pay a total of $5.8 million to resolve allegations that, under Postal Service contracts, they misreported their delivery of U.S. Mail to foreign postal services. According to DOJ’s press release:

The Justice Department announced today that British Airways Plc (BA) and Iberia Airlines (Iberia) have agreed to pay $5.8 million to resolve their liability under the False Claims Act for falsely reporting the times they transferred possession of United States mail to foreign postal administrations or other intended recipients under contracts with the United States Postal Service (USPS).  BA and Iberia are international airlines headquartered in Harmondsworth, United Kingdom, and Madrid, Spain, respectively.  BA and Iberia Airlines are both subsidiaries of the International Airlines Group.

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USPS contracted with BA and Iberia to take possession of receptacles of United States mail at six locations in the United States or at various Department of Defense and State Department locations abroad, and then deliver that mail to numerous international and domestic destinations.  To obtain payment under the contracts, the airlines were required to submit electronic scans of the mail receptacles to USPS reporting the time the mail was delivered at the specified destinations.  Today’s settlement resolves allegations that scans submitted by BA and Iberia falsely reported the time the airlines transferred possession of the mail.

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The case apparently arose from a government investigation, and not from a whistleblower suit.

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