Capco, a weapons engineering and manufacturing company based in Grand Junction, has settled for $1 million with the U.S. Army for allegedly selling grenade launchers with less-durable steel parts.
The Denver Post reports that the company knowingly used the wrong material, and executives ignored — then fired — an employee who brought the issue to their attention. The employee turned into a whistleblower, filing an official complaint with the federal government in 2017.
“We entrust our defense contractors to manufacture equipment of the highest quality for the men and women who serve our country in the U.S. Armed Forces,” said U.S. Attorney for Colorado Jason R. Dunn in a statement. “Any breakdown in the production process must be swiftly and honestly addressed, and we will hold contractors fully responsible for fraudulently covering up production problems.”
The investigation took nearly two years, and Capco entered into the settlement without admitting liability. The whistleblower will receive approximately $235,000 from the settlement.
Dunn’s office explained that the False Claims Act provides individuals with knowledge of fraud against the U.S. government the opportunity to bring those allegations on behalf of the United States. If an investigation corroborates the allegations, the individual may share the monetary award.