The state of California jumped aboard a whistleblower lawsuit in progress against BP Plc, alleging that BP had overcharged the state by up to approximately $300 million for nearly a decade for natural gas. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit now include the state, two of its university systems and a BP whistleblower, Christopher Schroen.
The parties in the lawsuit claim that the overcharging of natural gas affected both state and local government facilities, as well as various university campuses and medical centers. The lawsuit alleges that BP accomplished this fraud through a process known as “margin stacking.” The company’s management supposedly altered its profit margin in a way that made it exceed what could reasonably be considered its actual profit margin, and ultimately greatly surpassed caps that were specifically laid out in contracts.
Between 2004 and 2012, BP sold between $1.5 billion and $2 billion worth of natural gas to the state and its universities, with overcharges accounting for between $150 million and $300 million.
Schroen was fired from his position with the company in 2012 after he discovered the excessive charges and refused to cooperate with BP’s alleged misconduct. He claims that higher-ups within BP turned him into a scapegoat for the overcharges, and went so far as to spread lies about his involvement with criminal activity and account mismanagement. His portion of the lawsuit includes claims of retaliation, wrongful termination and defamation of character.
To learn more about this case, State of California v. BP America Production Co., or any other issues related to whistleblower law, contact the team of experienced Dallas attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers.