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Hanford contractor agrees to pay fine for accepting illegal kickbacks

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 6, 2018, 7:29 p.m.

FILE - This May 13, 2017, file photo, shows a portion of the Plutonium Finishing Plant on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash. Work to demolish the former nuclear weapons production factory in Washington state may resume in September 2018, about six months after it was halted when workers were exposed to radioactive particles. The plant was involved in producing much of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal. (Nicholas K. Geranios / AP)
FILE - This May 13, 2017, file photo, shows a portion of the Plutonium Finishing Plant on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash. Work to demolish the former nuclear weapons production factory in Washington state may resume in September 2018, about six months after it was halted when workers were exposed to radioactive particles. The plant was involved in producing much of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal. (Nicholas K. Geranios / AP)

The Chief Financial Officer of one of the prime contractors at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has agreed to pay $124,440 to resolve allegations that he accepted more than $40,000 in illegal kickbacks for awarding a contract to the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Richard A. Olsen is the CFO of Mission Support Alliance LLC. Starting in 2009, MSA began a multibillion dollar services contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, which oversees the massive cleanup effort at Hanford. The site near Richland provided much of the plutonium for the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

MSA was partially owned by Lockheed Martin and entered into a subcontract worth hundreds of millions of dollars, paid by DOE, for another subsidiary of Lockheed Martin to perform information technology services at the Hanford Site.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Olsen received at least $41,480 in illegal kickback payments from Lockheed Martin to improperly reward favorable treatment to Lockheed Martin in awarding that IT services contract.

Prosecutors also found that Olsen “assisted in drafting and submitting false statements to DOE regarding the labor rates charged by Lockheed Martin as well as Lockheed Martin’s anticipated profit in providing IT services at Hanford,” according to a news release. Prosecutors also alleged that Olsen helped submit “false and inflated claims” to the DOE when he received the illegal kickback from Lockheed Martin “rewarding him for the impermissible profit Lockheed Martin reaped as a result of the alleged fraud.”

As part of the $124,440 settlement, Olsen must cooperate with the ongoing investigation into the alleged fraud scheme, the news release said.

“This settlement requires Mr. Olsen to pay back three times the amount he received from the alleged fraud and holds Mr. Olsen accountable for his actions,” U.S. Attorney Joseph Harrington wrote. “It also sends a strong message to those individuals who may engage in similar conduct.”


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