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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hanford contractor agrees to pay $5.3 million to settle timecard fraud

In this March 6, 2013 file photo, a warning sign is shown attached to a fence at the 'C' Tank Farm at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, near Richland, Wash. Documents obtained by the Associated Press show that there are significant construction flaws in some newer, double-walled storage tanks at the nuclear waste complex. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
In this March 6, 2013 file photo, a warning sign is shown attached to a fence at the 'C' Tank Farm at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, near Richland, Wash. Documents obtained by the Associated Press show that there are significant construction flaws in some newer, double-walled storage tanks at the nuclear waste complex. (Ted S. Warren / AP)

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that a contractor has agreed to pay $5.3 million to settle allegations that it knowingly bilked the government through a time-card scheme that lasted for five years at Hanford.

Washington River Protection Solutions LLC agreed to pay $5,275,000, stemming from company employees submitting false claims for time worked to get overtime and premium pay as part of its winning Hanford’s Tank Farms contract in 2008.

Federal investigators informed the company that same year that its employees were submitting false time cards. The company then failed to do anything over the next five years to make changes.

“As a result of this failure, the timecard fraud alleged at the Tank Farm was allowed to continue … and executives looked the other way,” according to a news release.

The $5.3 million agreement is more than double the alleged loss to the government through the fraudulent timecard scheme, said Michael Ormsby, U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

“It is deeply concerning that, in the wake of WRPS’s predecessor, CH2M Hill Hanford Group Inc.’s previous admission to criminal timecard fraud conspiracy with employees at the Tank Farms … that WRPS continued to bury its head in the sand and allegedly allowed much of the same timecard fraudulent practices to continue,” Ormsby said in a news release.

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