United States Intervenes in False Claims Case Involving Overcharging for Delivery of Humanitarian Food Aid

On Friday, October 19, 2012, the Department of Justice announced that the United States government was intervening in the False Claims Act case United States ex rel. John Raggio v.  Jacintoport International LLC, alleging that Jacintoport International LLC, (Jacintoport) a cargo handling and stevedoring firm headquartered in Houston, fraudulently exceeded the explicit caps set on the rates Jacintoport could charge for loading humanitarian food aid onto cargo ships.

The government’s complaint alleges that in 2007 Jacintoport entered into a warehousing and logistics contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for the storage and redelivery of emergency humanitarian food aid bound for crisis areas around the world.  By that contract’s terms, Jacintoport agreed to explicit caps on the rate that Jacintoport could charge for stevedoring.   In the shipping industry, stevedoring refers to the actual loading of the cargo onto ships.  The government alleges that between January 2008 and at least October 2009, Jacintoport regularly charged rates that exceeded those explicit caps, resulting in inflated rates charged to the United States for the delivery of more than 50 thousand tons of humanitarian food aid.

This qui tam action was originally brought by the whistleblower John Raggio.  Mr. Raggio allegedly received an invoice from Jacintoport that contained the excessive stevedore rates.  The claims alleged in United States’ complaint are only allegations and do not constitute a determination of liability.

Posted in False Claims, Federal False Claims Act, Government Intervention, Other Kinds of Fraud, Qui Tam, Whistleblower LawsuitNo Comments

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