The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that Triple Canopy Inc., a Reston-based government contractor, has agreed to pay $2.6 million to settle civil False Claims Act allegations that the company submitted false claims for payment to the Department of Defense for unqualified security guards stationed in Iraq.
According to a DOJ press release, the allegations stem from Triple Canopy’s one-year contract with the Joint Contracting Command in Iraq (JCC-I), an entity established to provide contracting support related to the government’s relief and reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Under the 2009 contract, Triple Canopy was required to perform a variety of security services at Al Asad Airbase, the second largest air base in Iraq.
The government’s complaint in intervention alleges that Triple Canopy knowingly billed the United States for security guards who could not pass contractually required firearms proficiency tests. The tests were designed by the Army to ensure that the guards hired to protect U.S. and allied personnel were capable of firing their assigned weapons safely and accurately. The government further alleges that Triple Canopy concealed the guards’ inability to satisfy the firearms testing requirements by creating false test scorecards that Triple Canopy was required to maintain for government review, in an effort to induce the government to pay for the unqualified guards.
“Contractors must be held accountable for their actions, especially when the safety of government personnel is at stake,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in the release. “This settlement should remind contractors of the high value we place on safeguarding our personnel abroad.”
The government’s claims are based on a whistleblower suit initially filed by a former employee of Triple Canopy in 2011. The suit was filed in the federal district court for the Eastern District of Virginia under a provision of the False Claims Act that allows private persons to file suit on behalf of the United States. Under the False Claims Act, the government has a period of time to investigate the allegations and decide whether to intervene in the action or to decline intervention and allow the whistleblower, also called the relator, to go forward alone. The government intervened in the suit in June 2012.
The False Claims Act also provides the whistleblower a share of the government’s recovery. As part of the resolution, the whistleblower will receive approximately $500,000.
Triple Canopy is now a Constellis company.
A 36-year-old Herndon man was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges of threatening to murder officials, officers and employees of the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. State Department, as well as Virginia law enforcement officers.
William Lewis Weaver II is charged with two counts of threatening to assault and murder federal officials, officers and employees, as well as three counts of transmitting in interstate commerce a communication containing threats to injure the person of another. The indictment alleges that between Aug. 23 and Sept. 16, Weaver used a Twitter account to post tweets that threatened to murder a number of government officials, including specific threats involving bombs and a shotgun.
According to the affidavit (read in full), officers from the Herndon Police Department visited Weaver at his residence at least twice to ask him about his tweets.
Records received from CIA’s police department, which has law enforcement authority with respect to its facilities, indicate that on or before June 17, 2017, @WillWeaver2 posted at least one tweet that was directed at the CIA and the National Security Agency. The communication(s) was/were concerning in nature and resulted in the City of Herndon Police Department conducting a welfare check of WEAVER at his residence in Herndon, Virginia. During this meeting, WEAVER did not deny that he owns or controls @WillWeaver2, indicated that he had been intoxicated when he posted the tweet(s) in question, and did not intend to hurt anyone unless they came to his house.
The U.S. Department of State says Weaver had applied for a passport twice since February 2016, and was denied each time. One of his tweets in question read: “@StateDept You have about 2 weeks 2 get my passport 2 me before the devices set off and the shotgun blasts start. Tick-tock goes the clock.”
Other tweets that sparked investigation were directed toward the CIA, including two on the same day that read “Logic continues to dictate that bombing the cia, and shotgunning them as they line up outside the gate at work in the morn is my conclusion” and “They all line up at those gates like ducks at the county fair shooting gallery, haha. All that evil just a few shotgun blasts away from gone.”
After a federal officer visited Weaver’s home on Sept. 14, he posted a series of expletive-laden tweets over two days that included threats toward the CIA, NSA, police and military. He also allegedly visited a store in Sterling on Sept. 15 and attempted to purchase a shotgun and ammunition, which he tweeted would be for “home defence” because he “can’t trust police anymore.”
Weaver’s Twitter account has since been suspended.
A Nokesville man who worked as the controller for Reston’s NCI Inc. has been sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for embezzling about $19.4 million from the information technology company.
Jon Frank, 48, pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge in June. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia:
From 2007 until January 2017, he used his position to initiate transfers of approximately more than $19 million from the company’s bank account to his personal accounts. He created false documents to make it appear that the money was being sent as reimbursement to another company that was administering the health insurance plan for Frank’s employer. Relying upon his knowledge and the altered documents, he was able to mislead the individuals performing audits of the company’s financial records. Frank spent the money on expensive automobiles and real estate, among other things.
In addition to his prison sentence, Frank has been ordered to pay the full amount — $19,440,331 — back in restitution.
Frank’s sentence was handed down Friday morning by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Hanly prosecuted the case.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Jama and 46-year-old Hinda Osman Dhirane of Washington state were sentenced Friday in Alexandria to 12 and 11 years, respectively.
According to court documents, Jama and Dhirane sent money to financiers of al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, which they referred to respectively as the “Hargeisa side” and the “Nairobi side.” The defendants also organized what was called a “Group of Fifteen,” which included women from Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Canada, as well as Minneapolis, Minnesota. The “Group of Fifteen” met regularly in a private chatroom that Jama established to organize and track monthly payment of money to the “Hargeisa side,” which was used to finance al-Shabaab military operations in the Golis Mountains in northern Somalia, and the “Nairobi side,” which was used to fund two al-Shabaab safehouses. One of the safehouses was used by al-Shabaab to store weapons and to prepare for attacks. The other was used to treat al-Shabaab fighters who had been wounded in battle.
Phone calls and other communication between the “Group of Fifteen” that was monitored by the government made up a substantial part of the case against the women. The recordings, the press release states, “demonstrated that the women had close connections with al-Shabaab leadership and were privy to non-public, inside information concerning al-Shabaab activities.”
The women were also recorded as they laughed while the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi was taking place, and about the Boston Marathon bombing before it was known who committed that attack, according to the Department of Justice.
Muna Osman Jama, 36, was arrested in Reston in 2014. She was one of several people charged with providing material support to al-Shabaab, “a designated foreign terrorist organization that is conducting an insurgency campaign in Somalia,” U.S. Department of Justice officials said.
Authorities said Osman Jama and Hinda Osman Dhirane, 44, of Kent, Wash., funneled small amounts of money to the group, which became affiliated with Al-Qaeda in 2012.
The trial is expected to take two weeks.
According to the Justice Department, Jama and Dhirane allegedly directed a network composed primarily of women who provided monthly payments that were coordinated, facilitated and tracked by the defendants to their conduits in Kenya and Somalia.
Authorities said Jama was principally responsible for sending money to Kenya through a conduit, defendant Fardowsa Jama Mohamed, while Dhirane was primarily responsible for sending money to Somalia through her conduit, defendant Barira Hassan Abdullahi.
According to court records, the defendants would refer to the money they sent overseas as “living expenses,” and they repeatedly used code words such as “orphans” and “brothers in the mountains” to refer to al-Shabaab fighters, and “camels” to refer to trucks needed by al-Shabaab. The money transfers often were broken down into small amounts as low as $50 or $100, and the funds were intended for use by al-Shabaab insurgents operating in Somalia.
The defendants also face charges of one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and 20 counts of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison on each count in the indictment.