This week, ITT Cannon, a division of ITT Inc., agreed to pay $11 million to settle False Claims Act allegations that it supplied untested electrical connectors to the military.
According to the Department of Justice, ITT sold six models of connectors to the government directly through distributors and to government contractors who designed them into equipment sold to the government.
From September 2008 to March 2017, ITT allegedly failed to perform required periodic testing on the connectors.
In December 2010, the government found out about it, and ITT agreed to conduct remedial testing. Two months later, ITT was performing the tests when it experienced several failures. Instead of notifying the government, ITT said that the tests were running behind.
It wasn't until March 2017 that the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) issued an order to stop shipment. In June 2017, ITT formally disclosed the test failures. It also revealed changes in materials, construction, sourcing as well as connector design.
The connectors were removed from the Qualified Products List (QPL), which prevented the parts from being sold to the military. As of July 2019, ITT has only requalified one of the connectors for sale.
The allegations came from whistleblower Ralph Tatgenhorst, a former regional quality manager at ITT's Santa Ana facility. As a result of the settlement, Tatgenhorst will receive $2,090,000.
As a result of the settlement, there is no determination of liability.
According to Nicola T. Hanna, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, the settlement is designed to prevent ITT from future misconduct. It also serves as a "warning to any government contractor who is not completely upfront about its testing results."