GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO News)-- A Grand Junction company was forced to pay more than $1 million to the Department of Justice for a penalty. The United States Attorney’s Office held a civil investigation into Capco over allegations that they were manufacturing weapons that were not up to code and then sold them to the army. The DOJ says Capco supplied the army with faulty M-320 grenade launchers.
“The nature in which they constructed, the barrels of the grenade launchers were not up to the standard required for the grenade launchers to be able to successfully launch projectiles. Second, the firing pin themselves were not up to the engineering quality that they were supposed to be,” says United States Attorney for the District of CO, Jason Dunn.
Capco LLC supplied the US Army with grenade launchers between July 2016 and March 2018. Capco has a contract with the US Army, manufacturing products to be used by those who serve.
“If they’re not up to the engineering standards that are required then they are susceptible to failure. And if it’s susceptible to failure then its susceptible to injuring soldiers who are operating them,” says Dunn.
The Department of Justice was notified of the alleged conduct by a former quality engineer at Capco. Under the False Claims Act, citizens with knowledge of fraudulent activity against the U.S. may come forward bringing a lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. under seal. According to the DOJ, the former employee filed that case originally on November 8th 2017.
In the settlement, Capco says they are not liable and have no reason to believe that their products were unsafe or ineffective.
“Our allegation is that they were aware of it. And that they failed to bring that to the army’s attention,” says Dunn, “The United States government is going to be more watchful to ensure that they are living up to their end of the obligations they have through their contracting and manufacturing process,”
The date of the settlement was Nov. 4th 2019 and the DOJ says that Capco has made the full payment.
There has been no indication that the government is going to stop doing business with them.
In a released statement Capco states the following:
“As a company, this chapter has made us smarter and stronger. The safety and effectiveness of our products, which are used by the men and women who serve us all in the military and law enforcement, always has been and always will be Capco’s highest priority. Today, Capco’s quality and compliance systems are stronger than ever.
“We know that the government has confidence in our people, our quality, and our ability to deliver an excellent product, and we are proud to serve our nation’s military and law enforcement professionals every day.
“Every challenge gives us choices about how to respond. Our team chose to address this complaint in a way that encompasses the values we embrace – transparency, trust, commitment, and extreme reliability.”