General Electrics Aviation Systems, a Santa Ana subsidiary of GE, is letting $6.58 million fly away to settle allegations it submitted false claims for multiple U.S. Department of Defense contracts, according to the Justice Department. GE Aviation employee Jeffrey Adler leveled the allegations about work at 2040 E. Dyer Road on Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, but the government case also included accusations concerning F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter jets.
Adler's whistleblower lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the United States, and federal officials allege that between June 2010 and June 2011, GE Aviation lied about performing a complete inspection on 228 drag beams to be used on the Blackhawks to confirm they conformed to contract specifications.
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The government also accuses GE Aviation of knowingly having failed to comply with contract specifications and undertake the proper quality control standards for 641 external fuel tanks for the F/A-18 Hornets delivered to the Navy between June 2005 and February 2008, according to Thom Mrozek, a DOJ spokesman. These allegations came after a new tank leaked.
"Defense contractors agree to provide the government with a quality product, and in doing so, they promise to follow strict manufacturing and testing protocols to ensure that our military receives only the best equipment," said Andre Birotte Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, in a statement. "In this case, some of the hardware sold to the government did not meet quality-control standards, and that failure could have put our service members at risk. This multimillion dollar settlement is designed to ensure that General Electric Aviation Systems does not engage in this type of misconduct in the future, and this case should serve as a warning to any government contractor who thinks it can cut corners."
Pray these were isolated at the Santa Ana plant, which also makes and sells integrated systems and components for commercial, corporate and marine aircraft.