Reston contractor Triple Canopy to pay $2.6M to settle false claims suit

WASHINGTON — Security contractor Triple Canopy has agreed to pay $2.6 million to settle civil False Claims Act allegations that the company submitted false claims for payment to the Department of Defense for unqualified security guards stationed in Iraq.

Triple Canopy contracts with the government to provide private security protection forces for U.S. government and allied personnel abroad.

The settlement stems from a 2009 contract for security services at Al Asad Airbase in Iraq.

Triple Canopy, based in Reston, Virginia, was accused of billing the U.S. for security guards who could not pass required firearms proficiency tests designed by the Army to ensure that the guards were capable of firing their assigned weapons safely and accurately.

It also claimed that Triple Canopy concealed the guards’ inability to pass the firearms testing requirements by creating false test score cards it was required to maintain for government review.

The government’s claims were based on a whistleblower suit filed by a former employee of Triple Canopy in 2011.

Under terms of the False Claims Act, the unidentified whistleblower will share in the government’s recovery — in this case, $500,000.

“Contractors must be held accountable for their actions, especially when the safety of government personnel is at stake,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where the suit was filed. “This settlement should remind contractors of the high value we place on safeguarding our personnel abroad.”

The civil claims settled by the agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of civil liability.

Triple Canopy, formed by veteran U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers in 2003, merged with security contracting firm Academi in 2014, forming its parent company Constellis Group.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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