Virginia-based defense contractor settles conflict-of-interest allegations for $425,000

by Ben Vernia | May 22nd, 2022

On May 20, the Department of Justice announced that Virginia Beach, Virginia-based Cape Henry Associates had agreed to pay $425,000 to settle allegations that the company failed to disclose organizational conflicts of interest in connection with defense contracts. According to DOJ’s press release:

Cape Henry Associates (Cape Henry), located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, has agreed to pay $425,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by failing to inform contracting officers of the company’s organizational conflicts of interest (OCI) in connection with the award and performance of task orders on government contracts. Cape Henry performs manpower analysis, personnel analysis and training services for the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Justice Department alleged that Cape Henry failed to disclose that one of the company’s officers had an ownership interest in KOVA Global, a company to which Cape Henry awarded subcontracts to provide warehouse services in connection with two sole source task orders issued by the Army and General Services Administration (GSA).

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The Justice Department also alleged that Cape Henry failed to disclose relevant information about a conflict of interest arising from advisory & assistance services (A&AS) performed in 2015 by Q.E.D. Systems Inc. (Q.E.D.), a Cape Henry subcontractor. In connection with a multi-year delivery order under a Navy SeaPort-e contract, Cape Henry would submit project-specific proposals to a Navy program management office that was responsible for determining the scope and funding for each project. At the same time that Cape Henry was submitting proposals to the Navy, Cape Henry was also funding the direct labor of a Q.E.D. employee through a subcontract. This Q.E.D. employee was providing A&AS services to the Navy program office and making recommendations that could potentially affect Cape Henry’s funding and treatment in connection with these project proposals. Cape Henry failed to disclose this conflict of interest to the contracting officer as required by the OCI clause in Cape Henry’s contract with the Navy.

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The case apparently arose from a government investigation, and not from a qui tam complaint filed by a whistleblower.

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