Three purchasing agents have been sued by the federal government for allegedly accepting gift cards and game tickets to encourage them to buy goods from a Hanford supplier.
Amy Hay, Patricia Hall and Michael Stone were among a number of Fluor Hanford material coordinators, or purchasers, who together accepted more than $40,000 in kickbacks from Fast Pipe and Supply and its owner, according to a complaint filed Monday in Eastern Washington Federal District Court.
At the same time, they and others spent $3.9 million on purchases from Fast Pipe, charging them to federal credit cards, called purchase cards or P-cards at the Hanford nuclear reservation.
"Where government moneys are involved, kickback schemes are particularly insidious, as they unfairly disadvantage honest businesses which play by the rules when working with the government," Michael Ormsby, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said in a statement.
Hay, Hall and Stone are being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice not only for damages or penalties in the amount of three times the value of the alleged kickbacks but also three times the amount of the goods they bought from Fast Pipe for Hanford use.
The Department of Energy would not have reimbursed the charged costs of the purchases had it known about the alleged kickbacks, the court civil complaint stated.
Fluor Hanford, a former Hanford contractor, prohibited employees from accepting gifts from suppliers or others the contractor did business with if its value was at least $25.
Hay is accused of accepting $2,130 worth of kickbacks from Fast Pipe between October 2005 and October 2008. In the same period, she bought $391,395 worth of goods from the supplier.
The Department of Justice said Fast Pipe bookkeeping showed an entry of $705 in November 2006 for advertising attributed to "Amy at Fluor." It believes she received a Macy's gift card worth at least $100, as indicated in another entry showing $400 paid to Macy's in December 2006 and attributed to "Amy, Alishia, Patty," according to the court complaint.
In 2007, she accepted four tickets to Seattle Mariners baseball games and four tickets and a parking pass for Seattle Seahawks football games, the court complaint alleged. In one place, Fast Pipe's bookkeeping records had a notation of "seahawks tickets amy" and a value of $1,004, according to the complaint.
Hall is accused of accepting kickbacks worth $390 between October 2005 and October 2008. That included four Seahawks tickets and a parking pass and a $100 Macy's gift certificate, according to the complaint.
She bought $642,495 worth of goods for Hanford during the same period.
Stone is accused of receiving $370 in kickbacks, including tickets to Seahawks and Mariners games. He gave two of the tickets to a local radio station, according to the complaint.
He also is accused of accepting a gift card to Outback Steakhouse worth at least $100. A Fast Pipe bookkeeping entry stated $500 was paid to the restaurant for "Ned, Tony, Mike S., Pat," according to the court complaint.
Between October 2005 and October 2008, Stone bought items worth $422,532 from Fast Pipe.
Fast Pipe is owned by Shane Fast, an unsuccessful Republican challenger to Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., in the 2010 primary. He told the Herald earlier that he routinely offered tickets to Seattle games and sometimes gift cards to his best customers, which he thought was OK. In some cases, customers called and asked for tickets, he said.
The complaint filed Monday stated Fast provided the kickbacks to Fluor Hanford employees by mailing unmarked packages to their homes, providing them in packages labeled only "Santa" and giving them directly to the employees.
Information on whether Hay, Hall or Stone continue to be employed at Hanford by its current contractors was not available late Monday afternoon.
-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org; more Hanford news at hanfordnews.com.