On Friday, the Justice Department announced a new complaint against Insect Shield and the company's late founder, Richard Lane, under the False Claims Act for allegedly submitting fake claims to the Department of Defense regarding contracts to provide Army combat uniforms. Insect Shield manufactures insect-repellent clothing technology that gives apparel invisible and odorless protection against mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and midges through 70 launderings.
According to the complaint, multiple Army combat uniform manufacturers subcontracted with Insect Shield to apply the company's permethrin insect-repellent to Army uniforms. The company was also contractually required to perform testing to ensure a compliant level of permethrin was applied to the uniforms.
The company and Lane allegedly falsified results to hide test failures. For example, Insect Shield combined results from different rounds of testing, re-labeled test samples to hide the true origin of the samples and performed re-tests on uniforms over what the contract permitted.
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The lawsuit was initially brought by whistleblower Emelia Downs, a former company employee.
According to the company's website, Richard Lane was Insect Shield's founding president and chief operating officer from 1996 to 2022. He created and developed the company's proprietary chemistry and process. He also designed the requisite equipment.
The government also brought claims against Richard Lane's estate. The 73-year-old was the majority owner until he died in an auto accident in December 2022.
We reached out to Insect Shield, but the company has not yet responded to our request for comment.