US Government Takes on Navy Contractor in Environmental Fraud Case

The federal government is set to prosecute three whistleblower complaints against a contractor for the U.S. Navy accused of large-scale fraud. The action takes place in the middle of a billion-dollar cleanup of a shipyard that had been contaminated with radiation that was to be the site of a new development.

Seven whistleblowers accused Tetra Tech, the contractor in question, of submitting falsified soil test results during the project. The tests were issued to verify that the 400-acre site of 10,000 future homes had been properly decontaminated. The redevelopment project is one of the largest in the history of San Francisco.

Details of the case

Tetra Tech was hired for more than $250 million to work on the Hunters Point project between 2006 and 2012. The site had been a Navy shipyard in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco. It had once held top-secret nuclear tests (between 1946 and 1969), and was a place where ships that returned from hydrogen bomb test sites would be decontaminated. As a result, there were concerns about radioactive waste that could make developing the site a challenge.

Whistleblowers in the case claim a manager at Tetra Tech ordered workers to destroy some lab results for post-cleanup soil samples that had extremely high radioactivity readings — among the highest ever obtained at Hunters Point. The complaints allege workers were also instructed to take samples from other areas of the site, avoiding those that were more likely to be so-called “hot spots” for radioactivity.

In addition, the lawsuits alleged the contractor and its subcontractors hired unqualified workers for the project and routinely failed to dispose of hazardous materials properly. Two former employees of Tetra Tech already pleaded guilty to falsifying reports and are serving eight-month prison sentences.

If you are aware of any fraud or wrongdoing within your business or organization, you have a responsibility to report it. You will be protected under federal law for doing so. Contact a trusted whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group for further guidance.