The Purchaser of Department of Energy Loan to Pay $29 Million to Settle Alleged Bidding Fraud

The US Department of Justice announced on January 31, 2020, that “Hybrid Tech Holdings LLC, Hybrid Technology LLC, and Ace Strength International LTD, have agreed to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by colluding to rig the bidding of an auction to purchase the United States Department of Energy’s non-performing loan to Fisker Automotive Inc. and Fisker Automotive Holdings Inc.”

The US DOJ claimed that the defendants prevented the US Department of Energy from having a fair bidding process by putting pressure on several competing bidders to “suppress their bids during the live auction,” thus reducing the amount the winning bidder had to pay and the amount the Department of Energy received?

According to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, “Companies working with the federal government must perform their obligations with transparency and fairness and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to pursue and penalize those who violate the False Claims Act.”

The case came about through the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The two whistleblowers were William R. Baldiga and the FAH Liquidating Trust, the successor to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Fisker Automotive Holdings Inc. They were awarded $5,220,000 because their disclosure led to a successful recovery. Their recovery is about 1/6th of the settlement payment.

Numerous agencies including the DOJ, the US Department of Energy, and the Office of Inspector General helped secure the settlement.

If you are aware of any improper conduct by a company or person that means a government agency pays more than it should, you may have a whistleblower claim. The California Law Offices of Stephen A. Danz and Associates has the experience and resources to help you pursue your claim. To speak with a strong whistleblower lawyer, call us at 877-789-9707 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.