Age Refining to Pay $9 Million to Settle False Claims Act Case
20 Corporate Crime Reporter 32(3), August 3, 2006

Age Refining Inc., the company's former affiliate, Age Transportation, and Albert Gonzalez, the founder and chairman emeritus of Age Refining will pay the United States $9 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit.

The settlement resolves allegations that San Antonio-based Age Refining falsely certified its compliance with the provisions of the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone Act of 1997) program in order to entitle the company to a price evaluation preference in connection with bidding for JP-8 jet fuel and other contracts with the Department of Defense.

The HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program was created to stimulate economic development and create jobs in urban and rural communities by providing federal contracting preferences to small businesses.

These preferences go to small businesses that obtain HUBZone certification in part by employing staff who live in a HUBZone.

The company must also maintain a "principal office" in one of these specially designated areas.

Age Refining has been decertified as a HUBZone company by the Small Business Administration.

Federal officials opened an investigation in response to a whistleblower action brought by James Carrington, a former employee of Age Refining.

Under the False Claims Act, private individuals can bring whistleblower actions for fraud on behalf of the United States, and collect a share of any proceeds recovered by the suit and attorney fees.

As a result of the settlement, Mr. Carrington will receive $1.7 million.


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