Hanford

Hanford contractors to pay nearly $58M settlement after whistle-blowers allege massive fraud scheme

Whistleblower claims alleged fraudulent overcharges that inflated the hours of labor and billed for work that was not actually performed.

Hanford contractors involved in the long-running effort to build the site’s Waste Treatment Plant have agreed to pay a $57.75 million settlement to the U.S. Justice Department to resolve whistleblower claims of fraudulent overcharges that inflated the hours of labor and billed for work that was not actually performed.

The settlement announced Tuesday with Bechtel Corp., AECOM Energy & Construction, and an AECOM subsidiary covers work undertaken to build the Waste Treatment Plant. This construction work has soaked up many billions of federal dollars to develop a complex able to treat and stabilize hazardous chemical and radioactive wastes for long-term storage.

Back in 2016, Bechtel and subcontractor URS agreed to pay $125 million to settle allegations of subpar work and accusations of using taxpayer dollars illegally to fund a multiyear lobbying campaign.

part of the new settlement, the contractors must submit to an independent compliance review for the next three years. And in a statement released Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Washington’s Eastern District, the contractors came under harsh criticism.

“It is stunning that, for nearly a decade, Bechtel and AECOM chose to line their corporate pockets by diverting important taxpayer funds from this critically essential effort,” Joseph E. Harrington, first assistant attorney general for the Eastern District of Washington, said in the statement.

Teri L. Donaldson, the inspector general for the Department of Energy, said “Bechtel National Inc., AECOM Energy & Construction Inc. and (the AECOM subsidiary) Waste Treatment Completion Company LLC, engaged in a massive scheme to submit tens of millions of dollars of false claims to the U.S. Government for unallowable and unjustified costs over a period of years — a pattern of conduct that

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Hanford contractors agree to pay $58 million fine for fraud

Two companies that do work at a former nuclear weapons production plant will pay fines of nearly $58 million for improperly billing the federal government for thousands of hours of work that were not performed

SPOKANE, Wash. — Two companies that do work at a former nuclear weapons production plant will pay fines of nearly $58 million for improperly billing the federal government for thousands of hours of work that were not performed.

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday afternoon announced the settlement involving the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a Manhattan Project-era facility near Richland, Washington, that is the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site.

The settlement was reached between Bechtel Corp. and AECOM Energy & Construction Inc., which for years have been constructing a giant nuclear waste treatment plant to clean up the Hanford site, which produced most of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

“It is stunning that, for nearly a decade, Bechtel and AECOM chose to line their corporate pockets by diverting important taxpayer funds from this critically essential effort,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington said in a news release.

As part of the agreement, the contractors denied any liability in regard to further legal actions.

“As a company, we felt it was in the best interest of the project and our customer to resolve this matter so that we can avoid the distractions and expenses of a protracted legal proceeding,” Barbara Rusinko, president of Bechtel’s Nuclear, Security & Environmental global business unit, said in a press release.

Hanford was created during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project effort to create an atomic bomb. Plutonium produced at Hanford was used in the atomic

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