NOVEMBER 7, 2014 — Maersk Line, Limited, has paid the U.S. $8.7 million as the result of a civil settlement regarding the U.S.-flag operator's failure to fully comply with certain terms of its contract with United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton
Under Maersk's contract with USTRANSCOM, the Department of Defense used Maersk services to ship cargo from the United States to military outposts in Afghanistan. Maersk moved cargo by sea to an appropriate port, then by trucks over land, often travelling in remote areas where enemy combatants and criminal entities were active in delivering shipments.
With respect to the shipments at issue in this matter, USTRANSCOM discovered that some claims submitted by Maersk contained suspicious signatures. Further investigation revealed that signatures purporting to verify receipt of shipments in Afghanistan were forged. USTRANSCOM's review uncovered 277 such instances.
"I would note that to its credit, Maersk was cooperative in the investigation. Aside from these containers, Maersk has successfully delivered thousands of shipments during the war effort. Maersk's overall conduct reflects a stronger performance and greater diligence than the relatively small amount of non-compliant war zone shipments would suggest, but, as I have noted, even a small amount of overall fraud becomes a huge waste of tax dollars, and I will not tolerate any such waste." said U.S. Attorney Wigginton.
John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, stated, "This $8.7 million settlement is a real win for the American taxpayer and highlights the critical importance that oversight plays in helping to protect U.S. funds."
The case was investigated by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Gerald M. Burke and David J. Pfeffer.