Sevenson Environmental Services Inc., an environmental remediation firm based in Niagara Falls, New York, has agreed to pay more than $2.72 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Act by accepting kickbacks, rigging bids and passing inflated charges to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in connection with work performed at the Federal Creosote Superfund Site in Manville, New Jersey, the Department of Justice announced Nov. 17, 2014. Sevenson was the prime contractor responsible for the cleanup of the Federal Creosote Site, which was funded by the EPA.
“The integrity of the public procurement process is severely undermined when federal contractors engage in anticompetitive contracting practices for their own personal gain,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General August E. Flentje for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will hold those accountable who abuse their positions at the public’s expense.”
“EPA is vigilant to ensure that the type of fraud perpetrated by Sevenson employees at Federal Creosote is not tolerated and that federal funds are recovered,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck.
The settlement resolves allegations that Sevenson solicited and accepted more than $1.6 million in kickbacks from six companies in exchange for the award of subcontracts for work at the Federal Creosote Site. It also resolves allegations that Sevenson conspired with the subcontractors to pass the majority of those kickbacks to the EPA and that it conspired with one subcontractor to pass to the EPA additional inflated charges for soil disposal.
This case was handled by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, with assistance from the New York Field Office of the department’s Antitrust Division, the EPA Region 2, the EPA’s Office of the General Counsel and the Kansas City District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.