On behalf of their client Ann Keating, Morgan Verkamp LLC, Cincinnati, OH and Denton Law, Virginia Beach, VA are pleased to announce that London Bridge Trading Company, Ltd, (“LBT”) Virginia Beach, VA agreed to pay the United States nearly $2.1 million to resolve allegations brought in a False Claim Act lawsuit filed in 2016 by Mrs. Keating. Mrs. Keating’s lawsuit alleged LBT billed the Department of Defense (“DoD”) for textile-based products that failed to comply with the requirements of the Buy American Act, Trade Agreements Act (“TAA”) and Berry Amendment. The settlement agreement contended the United States had civil claims arising from LBT’s sale of Chinese-manufactured load-out bags to the DoD, Defense Logistics Agency which were required to be manufactured in the United States pursuant to the TAA and Berry Amendment.
The False Claims Act allows private citizens to bring cases in the name of the United States against government contractors charged with fraud. Such cases—also called qui tam cases—recover damages back to the United States Treasury for false claims made to federal programs, including the DoD. Mrs. Keating, a supervisor in the company’s sewing operations for over 14 years, brought forth concerns over outsourcing manufacturing to foreign countries since at least 2008 and observed LBT employees removing “Made in China” labels from products and replacing those with “Made in USA.”
Mrs. Keating has a deep and personal interest in the safety and security of the United States military; in 2004, her son was killed while serving in Iraq. Her recently deceased husband was a retired, decorated U.S. Navy veteran and Desert Storm veteran. She believed the various schemes she observed and identified were a potential threat to the safety of U.S military members.
Morgan Verkamp LLC and Denton Law wish to acknowledge their client’s fortitude and perseverance in bringing this case forward on behalf of the United States. “Ann Keating demonstrated courage and patriotism in stepping front and center with her lawsuit. Whistleblowers like Ann are often put in difficult situations when they decide to speak out about potential fraud, but Ann is grounded by a conviction and moral compass that points to the right destination,” said Rick Morgan.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, captioned U.S. ex rel. Keating v. London Bridge Trading, et al., and the case number is 2:16 CV-875. The United States was represented by Civil Chief Andrew Malek, of the Southern District of Ohio. Mrs. Keating was represented by Rick Morgan and Chandra Napora of Morgan Verkamp LLC and Jake Denton of Denton Law. Mrs. Keating, Morgan Verkamp LLC and Denton Law are grateful for the government team of investigators and attorneys who worked on the investigation and resolution of the case.
The Government’s press release concerning the settlement can be read here.
Additional coverage by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement cand be read here.