DOJ accounces settlement with British Airways for falsely reporting international mail delivery times for international mail deliveries
I am always on the look-out for interesting and novel uses of the federal False Claims Act, and last month presented just such a case.
The Justice Department announced last month that British Airways Plc (BA) and Iberia Airlines (Iberia) have agreed to pay $5.8 million to resolve their liability under the False Claims Act for falsely reporting the times they transferred possession of United States mail to foreign postal administrations or other intended recipients under contracts with the United States Postal Service (USPS).
BA and Iberia are international airlines headquartered in Harmondsworth, United Kingdom, and Madrid, Spain, respectively. BA and Iberia Airlines are both subsidiaries of the International Airlines Group.
The United States contracts with various airlines for the delivery of international mail. In this case, USPS contracted with BA and Iberia to take possession of receptacles of United States mail at six locations in the United States (or at various Department of Defense and State Department locations abroad.) BA and Iberia were to deliver that mail to numerous international and domestic destinations within certain timeframes.
It’s the sneaking around that gets you into trouble
As with most FCA cases, its the sneaking around that got them into trouble. To obtain payment under the contracts, the airlines were required to submit electronic scans of the mail receptacles to USPS reporting the time the mail was delivered at the specified destinations. The settlement resolves allegations that scans submitted by BA and Iberia falsely reported the time the airlines transferred possession of the mail.
The U.S. Postal Service contracts with commercial airlines for the safeguarding and timely delivery of U.S. Mail to foreign posts, including the mail sent to U.S. servicemembers deployed to foreign operating bases and other locations abroad.
This matter was handled by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the USPS Office of the Inspector General, and the USPS Office of General Counsel.
A fine job by all!