Last week, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint against a company called CB&I Areva MOX Services and its partner, Smart Services, for allegedly paying the US government for supplies that were never delivered. According to the complaint, a manager at Wise offered kickbacks including football tickets, guns, a YETI handler, and a television to get preferential treatment on a US government project to build a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility.
MOX Works was contracted by the United States National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to build the Mixed Oxides Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF), which would have reprocessed weapons-grade plutonium as fuel for nuclear reactors in the United States. .
After wasting more than $7.6 billion on the MFFF, the US Department of Energy (DOE) canceled work on the South Carolina facility. The department has been quietly moving plutonium out of the area ever since.
Inside DOJ’s February complaint (PDF), the Feds accused Wise and MOX Services of submitting invoices with approximately $6.3 million in fraudulent charges between them. Wise then gave gifts to MOX Services employees to encourage them to turn a blind eye to bad invoices. While $6.3 million is a small amount compared to the $7.6 billion that the US government ultimately lost on the project, the NNSA hopes to recover the lost funds from the two contractors through a judicial investigation.
Much of the complaint centers around Phillip Thompson, Wise’s top agent for the project, who was convicted of conspiracy to embezzle government funds in 2017. Between 2008 and 2016, Thompson (acting on behalf of Wise ) filed a 484 complaint against MOX Services “that was intentionally false and fraudulent, due to claims including charges for non-existent materials,” the complaint said.
MOX Services, in turn, apparently turned around and sent more than $200 in payments to NNSA for reimbursement, all while knowing that Wise had falsified the deliveries. In addition, “Wise added a 3 percent tax to fees for non-existing items,” according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, Wise provided invoices from six supply companies, but these invoices included materials that did not exist. In the case of the two companies, the invoices were “hand written,” “did not include shipping costs,” and “were within 50 miles of Wise’s home office in Dayton, Ohio,” instead of South Carolina, where the application is available. in the meaning of. A supplier has an address at the top of the certificate that traces back to a residential address in Ohio, according to the complaint.
Additionally, the feds said Thompson pretended to buy millions of dollars of equipment for MFFF, then would “reimburse” himself from Wise’s petty cash account and send an invoice to MOX Services. MOX, in turn, requested reimbursement from the federal government.
All the while, MOX Services employees knew about Thompson’s apparent hustle and looked the other way because $52,000 in gifts were bought by Thompson and Wise for them, according to the complaint. “These withdrawals include valuables such as cash, gift cards, YETI trackers, sunglasses, cell phones, NASCAR tickets, Masters Golf Tournaments, college football tickets, firearms, and hunting supplies,” the complaint notes.
Go Crimson Stream
The DOJ alleges that a MOX Services Subcontract Technical Representative was given a barbecue grill, a car tire, gift cards, and a hunting rifle. In another case, the MOX Services Electrical Supervisor and Construction Supervisor “specified the retirement he wanted from Wise,” which was, in this case, tickets to University of Alabama football games with overnight stays at the hotel. was nearby, according to the complaint. . Thompson also allegedly hired the son of MOX’s Superintendent of Subcontract Services “in order to receive proper treatment” from the company.
Things seemed to have become too much for Wise when, in January 2015, one of the retired MOX Services employees took several days off for the Christmas holiday and allegedly came back to find his signature was forged on bills indicating his approval for reimbursement by NNSA. When the employee discussed the matter with his superiors, “Mr. Thompson admitted to forging and copying” his signature, according to the complaint.
Following several meetings with superiors, MOX directed that all future equipment purchases for Wise Contracts must go through the MOX Purchasing Department, and that Wise was not allowed to purchase and receive money for equipment under Subcontracts. Wise.”
Last week, the The Regulatory Commission terminated MOX Services’ construction license at the South Carolina site, at the request of the contractor.