Freight companies pay nearly $7 million to settle fraud allegations

by Ben Vernia | March 15th, 2022

On March 14, the Department of Justice announced that a trio of freight companies had agreed to pay $6.85 million to settle allegations that the companies overcharged the government on Department of Defense freight shipments. According to DOJ’s press release:

YRC Freight Inc. (YRC), Roadway Express Inc. and Yellow Transportation Inc. (collectively the YRC defendants), have agreed to pay approximately $6.85 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that they knowingly presented false claims to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) by systematically overcharging for freight carrier services and making false statements to hide their misconduct.

The YRC defendants, transporters of industrial, commercial and retail goods, contracted with DOD to ship military freight across the country from September 2005 to October 2013. Under their contracts, the YRC defendants were paid based in part upon a shipment’s weight.

The United States alleged that the YRC defendants fraudulently billed the United States for delivery charges based on higher weights when, after reweighing the shipments, they knew that the actual weights were lower. For more than seven years, the YRC defendants allegedly reweighed many shipments before final delivery, and when the reweighs showed that a shipment weight was more than the original weight, the YRC defendants charged DOD for these higher weights. But when the reweighs showed that a shipment weight was less than the original weight, the YRC defendants allegedly concealed from DOD the lower weights and instead charged DOD for the original, inflated weights. To further hide the scheme, the YRC defendants allegedly made false statements assuring DOD that they would comply with the rules requiring them to correct discrepancies uncovered during any reweigh process.

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The case was brought by a whistleblower under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act. The whistleblower, an employee of one of the companies, will receive $1.3 million of the settlement (a 19% relator’s share), DOJ announced.

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