Pennsylvania residents with family members serving in the military may be shocked to learn that an international food supplier responsible for providing U.S. troops in Afghanistan with food and water pleaded guilty to fraud charges. The lawsuit against the food supplier was filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
According to the lawsuit, Supreme Foodservice AG and Supreme Foodservice FZE implemented a scheme that allowed them to overcharge the United States for their services between July 2005 and April 2009. The lawsuit claimed that the overcharges allowed the companies to earn profits that were higher than what was agreed upon in their $8.8 billion contract. This was done by using a middleman, a company called Jamal Ahli Foods Co. LLC that was controlled by the international supplier, in order to inflate the prices of the local food and bottled water that was provided to the armed forces.
The lawsuit also claimed that, when a contracting officer requested to see invoices for specific food items being provided in 2006, the supplier lowered its prices for the specific products. The supplier reportedly mislead contracting officers numerous times throughout 2006 and 2007 regarding the markup and prices of their services. Ultimately, the international supplier pleaded guilty to charges of fraud against the U.S. and agreed to pay $434 million for the scheme.
When a person or a company is accused of fraud, there are certain penalties that they may face if they are convicted. In some cases, a person may face a prison sentence, or they may face expensive fines and penalties. With a person's reputation also at stake, a criminal law attorney could potentially put together a defense strategy that either fights the charges or reduces the charges and associated penalties. In most cases, the defense strategy will depend upon the specific circumstances of the case.
Source: The Pennsylvania record, "Defense contractor pleads guilty in fraud case, agrees to pay $434 million in penalties", Jim Boyle, December 10, 2014