“Buy America” Violations Costs Company

January 11, 2016

Wisconsin Architectural Firm to Plead Guilty and Pay $3 Million to Resolve Criminal and Civil Claims

Source: US Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, January 6, 2016

The Department of Justice announced today that Wisconsin-based Novum Structures LLC (Novum) has agreed to enter a guilty plea and pay $3 million to resolve its criminal and civil liability arising from its improper use of foreign materials on construction projects involving federal funds.  This use was in violation of contractual provisions implementing various domestic preference statutes, often referred to colloquially as the “Buy America” requirements.  Novum specializes in the design and construction of glass space frames often used in roofs and atrium enclosures. 

The agreement announced today resolves a criminal Information alleging that Novum repackaged materials and falsified documents relating to some federally funded construction projects in order to hide that it was using noncompliant foreign materials.  According to an agreement reached with the government, Novum will plead guilty to one count of concealing a material fact, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, and pay a $500,000 criminal fine.

“When taxpayer dollars are provided for construction projects, the government expects contractors to comply with all requirements, including ones that ensure the money remains in the U.S. economy,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “This settlement shows that the Department of Justice is committed to pursuing claims against contractors that put financial gain ahead of complying with the law.” 

“Domestic preference statutes are designed to promote American businesses and to protect U.S. economic interests,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.  “When companies subvert those interests by violating ‘Buy American’ provisions – and when they undertake efforts to conceal that they have done so – all in an effort to improperly advance their own private financial interests, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will pursue all appropriate criminal and civil sanctions.”   Read More …

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