The Justice Department announced today that Air France and KLM Airlines (AF/KLM) have agreed to pay $3.9 million to resolve their alleged liability under the False Claims Act for falsely reporting information about the transfer of U.S. mail to foreign posts or other intended recipients under contracts with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). AF/KLM are international air carriers with headquarters in Paris and Amsterdam, respectively.
“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that government contractors provide the services for which they are paid,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “When contractors knowingly fail to meet their obligations, we will pursue appropriate remedies to redress the violations and deter future ones.”
USPS contracted with AF/KLM to take possession of receptacles of U.S. mail at six locations in the United States or at various Department of Defense and State Department locations abroad, and then deliver that mail to numerous international and domestic destinations. To obtain payment under the contracts, AF/KLM was required to submit electronic scans of the mail receptacles to USPS reporting the time the mail was delivered at the identified destinations. The contracts specified penalties for mail that was delivered late or to the wrong location. The settlement resolves allegations that scans submitted by AF/KLM falsely reported the time and fact that they transferred possession of the mail.
“The USPS contracts with commercial airlines for the safeguarding and timely delivery of U.S. mail to foreign posts, including the mail sent to our soldiers deployed to foreign operating bases,” said Executive Special Agent in Charge Ken Cleevely of the USPS, Office of Inspector General (OIG). “The OIG supports the Postal Service by aggressively investigating allegations of contractual non-compliance within the mail delivery process, including the falsification of delivery information. Our special agents worked hand-in-hand with the Department of Justice to help ensure a reasonable resolution and we applaud the exceptional work done by the investigative and legal teams.”
The resolution obtained in this matter was the result of a coordinated effort between the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section, with substantial assistance from the USPS Office of the Inspector General and the USPS Office of General Counsel. Senior Trial Counsel Don Williamson of the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section, represented the government in the civil case.
This is the seventh civil settlement involving air carrier liability for false delivery scans under the USPS ICAIR Contracts, and collectively the United States has recovered more than $84 million as a result of its investigation of such misconduct.
The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.