Charges related to timecard fraud are expected to be dropped for two former high-level managers and a former supervisor of CH2M Hill Hanford Group after they agreed to pay civil fines, according to the Department of Justice.
Ryan Dodd, who was vice president of the former Hanford contractor, and Terrence Hissong, who worked as the tank waste retrieval director, have each paid fines of $44,000 to settle allegations.
Stephanie Livesey, a worker supervisor who approved timecards for the former contractor, has agreed to pay a fine of $22,000.
The settlement agreements are not an admission of liability by any of the three defendants nor a concession by the federal government that its claims were not well-founded, according to legal documents.
Dodd, Hissong and Livesey all say they did not knowingly aid in timecard fraud. They were scheduled to go to trial in federal court in February.
“I’m glad the charges are dropped,” Dodd said after the Department of Justice announced the settlement agreement Wednesday evening. “I’m glad to be done with this long ordeal that’s been extremely unjust to me and my coworkers.”
The settlement agreement follows a jury decision this fall that four other former employees of CH2M Hill Hanford Group (CHG) were not guilty of charges related to timecard fraud.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington respects the decision of the jury, said U.S. attorney Michael Ormsby in a statement.
But “we do not understand it to be a rejection of what nearly a dozen former employees, including supervisors, have admitted to along with their former employer CHG — that there was a systemic pattern of timecard fraud at CHG that stole millions from the taxpayers,” Ormsby said.
Dodd called the earlier verdict and the decision to drop the case against him “further evidence of these made-up and fictitious charges by the Department of Justice.”
CH2M Hill Hanford Group agreed in spring 2013 to pay $18.5 million to settle civil and criminal allegations of defrauding taxpayers through widespread timecard fraud at Hanford. CH2M Hill was the Department of Energy’s Hanford tank farm contractor from fall 1999 to fall 2008.
Workers at Hanford were accused of refusing to work overtime unless it was offered in eight-hour blocks. When overtime assignments were completed they would go home, but claim a full eight hours of overtime that would be paid with taxpayer money, CH2M Hill acknowledged in 2013.
The Department of Justice believes that Dodd and Hissong received bonuses from their employer that they would not have received if they had not authorized overtime hours that the government alleged they knew would not actually be worked, according to the settlement agreement.
Both denied having knowledge of timecard fraud and believed that reasonable management processes and procedures were in place to deter and detect such fraud, the settlement agreement said.
The provisions of the settlement do not release 23 other former employees of CH2M Hill from possible liability, including some who have not been charged.
The settlement agreement signed by Livesey was not available Wednesday, and neither Livesey nor Hissong, who also worked as tank farms management director for CH2M Hill, could be reached Wednesday evening by the Herald.
One former employee of CH2M Hill Hanford Group remains scheduled to go to trial in February. In addition, 11 former employees of CH2M Hill, including two former supervisors, have pleaded guilty to charges related to timecard fraud and could be sentenced this spring.