The federal government spends billions on public works projects and construction of federal buildings.

Fraudulent practices by contractors include bid-rigging, overcharging for contracts and failing to follow project specifications. All of those practices could be the basis of a qui tam lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act.

In the Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff qui tam case over the “Big Dig” construction project in Boston, Bechtel/Parson Brinckerhoff admitted that it had violated the terms of its contract and failed to properly oversee the safe and proper construction of the Big Dig project. For instance, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff certified the I-90 connector tunnel’s safety and proper construction when it knew expoxy bolts were failing to withstand the load of the ceiling panels. The collapse of that tunnel’s ceiling killed a woman in a car in 2006. Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff paid $407 million and smaller contractors on the Big Dig project paid $51 million to settle the qui tam lawsuit as well as criminal charges. Out of that total $458 million settlement, $23 million went to the federal government to settle the qui tam case and $40 million went to the state of Massachusetts under its false claims law.

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