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Boeing pays $18 million settlement for charging for lunch breaks

By Ryan Maass
Boeing pays $18 million settlement for charging for lunch breaks
C-17 Globemaster III aircraft fly over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia during low level tactical training. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Boeing has agreed to pay an $18 million to settle claims the company made false labor charges on its C-17 Globemaster contract with the U.S. Air Force.

The company is a regular contractor for the U.S. Air Force and other U.S. military branches, and was contracted for maintenance operations for the C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft. Following the contract, government officials alleged Boeing overcharged for labor costs, saying the company included extended breaks and lunch hours in the bill. Break times are not chargeable for defense contracts, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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"Defense contractors are required to obey the rules when billing for work performed on government contracts," Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said. "Today's settlement demonstrates that the Justice Department will ensure that government contractors meet their obligations and charge the government appropriately."

Boeing company officials maintain they acted quickly to resolve the civil settlement. There was no determination of liability.

"Boeing took prompt corrective action immediately after it became aware of the site's irregular billing practice, and the company cooperated fully with the government investigation," Boeing told USA Today.

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James Thomas Webb, a former Boeing employee brought the case to the government's attention under the False Claims Act, which permits private individuals to press charges against other entities on the government's behalf, and share in the recovered funds.

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