PORTLAND, Maine: North South Polar, Inc., located in Renton, Washington; and Luciano A. Sapienza, of Rockland, Maine; have agreed to pay $40,585 as a result of their violations of the False Claims Act, Acting U.S. Attorney Donald E. Clark announced.
As alleged in a civil complaint filed on March 11, 2021, North South Polar (NSP) and Sapienza, NSP’s president and CEO, violated the False Claims Act by converting equipment to which the federal Government held title. Specifically, in 2013, NSP and Sapienza entered into a contract with the U.S. Coast Guard to provide support services for the recovery of a World War II aircraft from a suspected crash site in Greenland. Under that contract, if the defendants purchased equipment for the mission and obtained reimbursement for that equipment from the Coast Guard, then title to that equipment would be held by the Coast Guard, and the defendants would be obligated to return that equipment upon completion of the project.
The defendants purchased and obtained reimbursement for four items of durable equipment, but upon completion of the contract, rather than return them in good working order to the Coast Guard, they instead sold the items on eBay. Their actions violated the False Claims Act, which prohibits a party from having control of Government property and knowingly returning less than all that property to the Government. Upon filing of the complaint, the parties stipulated to judgment in the amount of $40,585, representing double damages and one statutory penalty under the False Claims Act. The defendants cooperated in the Government’s investigation. The case is docketed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine as United States v. Sapienza, et al., 21-cv-00073-NT.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine investigated the case.
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