US intervenes in whistleblower’s suit against trucking companies

by Ben Vernia | December 16th, 2018

On December 14, the Department of Justice announced that the United States was intervening in a qui tam case, brought by a whistleblower under the False Claims Act, against three trucking companies for overcharging the Government on federal shipping. According to DOJ’s press release:

The United States has filed a complaint in the Western District of New York against YRC Freight Inc., (YRC); Roadway Express Inc. (Roadway); and Yellow Transportation Inc. (Yellow), alleging that these companies systematically overcharged the government for freight carrier services and made false statements to the government that hid their misconduct, the Justice Department announced today.

The United States filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Buffalo, New York.  The United States alleges that, for more than seven years, the defendants defrauded the Department of Defense by millions of dollars for shipments that were actually lighter, and thus cheaper, than the weights for which the defendants charged the government.  The United States further alleges that the defendants knowingly made or used false statements concealing their overcharging practices to the Department of Defense.

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Specifically, the United States’ lawsuit alleges that the defendants reweighed thousands of shipments and suppressed the results whenever they indicated that a shipment was actually lighter than its original estimated weight.  Thus, instead of charging the Department of Defense for shipments based on the correct weight, the defendants knowingly billed the government (and their other customers) based on weights that they knew to be inflated.  The defendants also allegedly made false statements to induce the Department of Defense to use them as freight carriers and further knowingly made or used false statements to improperly avoid their obligations to correct inflated invoices and return overpayments.

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