This month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced two separate False Claims Act (FCA) settlement against major U.S. airlines.
On July 1, the DOJ announced that Air France and KLM had agreed to pay $3.9 Million to resolve allegations that they violated the FCA by “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.” Specifically, the Postal Service contracted with Air France and 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.” According to the DOJ’s press release, in order for the airlines to obtain payment under the contracts, they were required to submit electronic scans of the mail receptacles to the Postal Service. The settlement resolves allegations that scans submitted by the airlines falsely reported the time and fact that they transferred possession of the mail. On July 7, the DOJ announced that Delta Airlines had agreed to pay $10.5 Million to resolve similar allegations.
Although the vast majority of FCA activity is typically within the healthcare industry, these cases serve as a crucial reminder that any company or individual submitting claims to the federal government for payment or reimbursement are subject to the FCA, including its per-claim penalties and treble damages.