The Boeing Company: It is the biggest producer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft in the world, with almost 157,000 employees as of late July, 2016. Based in the USA, the company is 100 years old, having been founded in Seattle on July 15, 1916.
Regrettably for all of us, this Fortune 500 business has a darker side, with dozens of allegations of false claims over the past 20-plus years. Since 1995, there have been 66 instances of reported misconduct, as listed in The Project on Government Oversight’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database. The dollar amount in penalties since 1995? Nearly $1.5 trillion.
Boeing has settled countless suits that have alleged not only questionable accounting practices, but also defective work done on both military and civilian aircraft that endangers human life. Whistleblowers, however, have played a big part in bringing such cases to light.
Boeing’s False Claims Case History
For decades, whistleblowers working at Boeing have been standing up for what’s right. The following cases are only a small part of the entire list:
- November, 1997: $2 million False Claims Act (FCA) settlement for alleged overcharging. The whistleblower and his attorneys received $1.1 million.
- August, 2000: $54 million FCA settlement involving allegations of defective transmission gears being knowingly installed in hundreds of military helicopters. Three crashes occurred before the fleet was grounded. The whistleblower received $10.5 million.
- May, 2003: $2.5 million FCA settlement involving allegations of safety devices that were improperly installed in military helicopters. The whistleblower received a $575,000 award plus an additional $825,000 for an employment retaliation claim.
- August, 2009: $25 million FCA settlement involving allegations of fraudulent billings to the government for work that was either never performed or defective. Two whistleblowers shared a $2.625 million award.
- October, 2014: $23 million FCA settlement involving allegations of false claims for work on Air Force aircraft. Four whistleblowers shared a $3.91 million award.
- October, 2015: $18 million FCA settlement involving allegations of false claims for maintenance contract labor charges relating to work on Air Force aircraft. The whistleblower’s share has yet to be determined.
And, while it wasn’t a whistleblower case, Boeing settled for a record $615 million in June, 2006, over allegations that it violated a number of Air Force and NASA contracts with illegal hiring and improper representations of competitors.
The Latest on Boeing
The latest qui tam case, brought in June, 2016, by three former employees, alleges that Boeing and one of its suppliers knew that certain parts incorporated into aircraft that were sold to the government did not comply with Federal Aviation Administration-approved designs. Boeing allegedly falsely stated that the aircraft conformed to all FAA regulations. The parts were manufactured by Ducommon, Inc.
Additionally, the SEC announced in February, 2016, that it will examine whether the company correctly accounted for costs and expected sales of two of its best known jetliners, the 787 Dreamliner and the 747 jumbo jet. This investigative probe into actions that could have improperly affected Boeing’s stock price also involves a whistleblower, who supplied the SEC with internal documents and details of Boeing’s accounting practices.
While Boeing the company may continue to disappoint us with their apparently questionable ethics, the tradition of blowing the whistle on FCA violations thankfully endures at the company.
The Whistleblower Lawyer
If you think you have the facts needed to bring a whistleblower case, the experienced whistleblower attorneys at the Louthian Law Firm can review your case and help you file the appropriate disclosure statement. Under some circumstances, the government will intervene, or join in your lawsuit.
Your chances of succeeding are greater if your whistleblower claim is substantive, clear, and to the point. Because of this, meeting with a qualified whistleblower attorney can increase your chances of winning. The Louthian Law Firm can help you form your claim so that the government will be more inclined to intervene in your case; government intervention can sometimes increase the chances of recovering reward money. Even if the government decides not to intervene, it could still be a good idea to pursue your case without government involvement. Our strong support system can assist you through every step of the process.
For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, call the Louthian Law Firm today at 1-803-454-1200 or, if you prefer, you can fill out our online contact form.