U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida issued the following announcement on Feb. 21.
United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that Survival Armor, Inc. has agreed to pay $900,000 to the United States to resolve allegations that it wrongfully obtained a five-year small business set-aside contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by misrepresenting its company size.
To help provide a level playing field for small businesses, the government limits competition for certain contracts to small businesses. These contracts, called “Small Business Set-asides” (“SBSA”), help small businesses compete for and win federal contracts. To qualify for a SBSA contract to provide body armor, a company must (among other things) have no more than 500 employees, including employees of all its domestic and foreign affiliates.
Survival Armor is a manufacturer of ballistic products. Their principal manufacturing facility is located in Fort Myers. Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Small Business Administration – Office of Inspector General, the United States alleged that Survival Armor misrepresented its status as a “small business concern” in order to obtain contracts to provide tactical body armor to the federal government.
Specifically, in November 2011, Survival Armor certified that it was a “small business concern” with less than 500 employees in order to be eligible to be awarded this SBSA contract. However, Survival Armor was at the time, and continues to be, merely a subsidiary of a foreign, large corporate parent company with well over 500 employees. As a result of the misrepresentation of its status, Survival Armor was able to obtain orders to provide tactical body armor to various federal law enforcement agencies for which it was ineligible.
“The SBA’s special contracting programs are intended to promote economic growth and encourage the development of small businesses across the nation,” said U.S. Attorney Chapa Lopez. “Our resolve to protect these government programs and their intentions on behalf of the public are unwavering.”
“The Federal government has made continued efforts to provide contracting dollars to certified small businesses,” said Special Agent in Charge Jay H. Donly of the DHS OIG Miami Field Office. “When our investigation determined that the company did not qualify as a small business under the procurement guidelines, we appreciated the cooperation they gave to DHS OIG to bring this matter to resolution.”
“Individuals that make intentional misrepresentations to gain access to federal contracts set aside for small businesses will be brought to justice,” said SBA-OIG Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kupperbusch. “This settlement sends a strong message that wrongdoing will find its way into the open, and those responsible will be held accountable. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s office and our law enforcement partners for their support and dedication to pursuing justice in this case.”
Original source can be found here.