WMATA Settles False Claims for $4.2M; Whistleblower to Get $998K

Posted: 08/25/2014  browse the blog archive
WMATA Settles False Claims for $4.2M; Whistleblower to Get $998K

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has agreed to pay $4.2 million to settle allegations that it knowingly submitted or caused the submission of false claims in connection with the use of federal funds to impermissibly award a contract, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced last week.

The conduct at issue involves a contract that WMATA awarded to Metaformers, Inc., a Virginia-based business, to integrate the Authority’s financial and business systems.  The total cost of this integration project was approximately $14 million. WMATA funded the project with approximately $9 million in grant funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). 

As a condition of receiving grant funds, WMATA certified that it would comply with statutes, regulations, and FTA rules mandating full and open competition when procuring goods and services using FTA grant funds. Also, as a condition of receiving the funds, WMATA certified that it would not award contracts in a manner that created a conflict of interest – for example, giving an unfair advantage to one bidder or contractor over others.  WMATA allegedly violated both the competition requirement and avoidance of “conflict of interest” rule in awarding the financial management information technology contract.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Shahiq Khwaja, a former WMATA employee, under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act.  The Act allows private parties with knowledge of fraud against the government to sue on behalf of the government and share in the recovery.  Khwaja will receive $996,480 as his portion of the settlement.

The Chanler Group, in association with the Hirst Law Group, represents whistleblowers who take action under the False Claims Act to report fraud committed against the federal and state governments.  We have years of experience representing whistleblower clients who expose every kind of fraud against the government, including health care fraud, contract fraud, and tax fraud.  Read more about our expertise in False Claims Act cases and how you can take action.