Walter Klepacz went to sleep last week with a clean conscience and roughly $1.466 million richer.
A few years ago, Klepacz was working as Quality Assurance Manager for Crane, Co., a manufacturer of various machine fittings and parts, when he began asking questions about some shady business practices for obtaining government contracts, honest questions that led him to be fired.
Klepacz knew there were specific regulations regarding government contracts, laws regulating who gets the project and the quality of materials sold to the military and where they were produced, and he knew his employer was bending and sometimes breaking these laws. He knew Crane, Co. knew it was selling substandard valves to the U.S. Navy and other parts that would be used in combat. They also were manufacturing a portion of these substandard parts with materials from outside of the United States in violation of the Berry Amendment and Buy America Act. What Klepacz didn’t know until he met with a workplace lawyer was that not only was his firing illegal but he could also file a lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. to recover the moneys Crane, Co. had made by defrauding the government.
U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Hoyt found Crane, Co. had acted illegally with its use of government money, and Klepacz was rewarded for his actions as a few dozen brave Americans are every year through whistle blowing and filing a False Claims Act.
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