Firms shipping for Scott Air Force Base agency pay $3.65M fine for falsifying records

Two shipping companies working with U.S. Transportation Command based at Scott Air Force Base have paid $3.65 million in civil fines for falsifying records on cargo to be moved into and out of Afghanistan, Acting U.S. Attorney James L. Porter of the Southern District of Illinois announced Thursday.

Farrell Lines Inc. and its affiliate, Damco USA Inc., paid the fine after U.S. Transcom discovered that 563 weight tickets submitted to Farrell were “recreated” by Damco employees and were not authentic weight tickets, according to Porter’s news release.

Porter described the violation as one of poor record-keeping rather than willful misconduct.

Under Farrell’s contract with U.S. Transcom, it was supposed to move Department of Defense and other government cargo into and out of Afghanistan by air, sea and land. Farrell subcontracted work to Damco.

Porter said the contract was based almost exclusively on the weight of the shipments and documented cargo weights, consisting of weight tickets issued by a certified commercial scale for each cargo container, need to be included with billing invoices to the government.

An attorney for Farrell Lines, which is based in Norfolk, Va., declined comment.

Officials from Netherlands-based Damco could not be reached Thursday.

Porter said the two companies cooperated with investigators.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Defense Contract Audit Agency, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and it was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan D. Stump.