The U.S. Department of Justice has requested that criminal charges related to Hanford timecard fraud be dismissed against the final defendant who had pleaded innocent.
The federal government has reached a civil settlement with Patrick Brannan, the base operations radiological control manager for former Hanford tank farms contractor CH2M Hill Hanford Group, according to a new document filed in federal court.
Brannan, who continues to work at the Hanford tank farms, agreed to pay a fine of $5,500, according to the settlement agreement.
“The past three years have been very difficult times for my client and his family,” said Ken Therrien, Brannan’s attorney. “The emotional stress and the financial cost of defending against these false and reckless charges is now over.”
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The agreement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by Brannan nor a concession by the Department of Justice that its claims were not well founded, the agreement said. It also does not release other former CH2M Hill Hanford Group workers from liability, including some who have not been charged.
Three other defendants who were to go to trial with Brannan in February agreed to pay civil fines of $22,000 to $44,000 in agreements reached earlier this month.
“My client was fully prepared and committed to proceed to trial in order to defend his good name against these baseless allegations,” Therrien said. “However, recent events have made proceeding to trial unnecessary.”
CH2M Hill agreed in spring 2013 to pay $18.5 million to settle civil and criminal allegations of defrauding taxpayers through widespread timecard fraud at Hanford when it was the tank farm contractor from fall 1999 to fall 2008.
Hourly workers for CH2M Hill Hanford Group would often refuse to work overtime shifts unless a full eight hours of work were offered, according to court documents. When the overtime assignment was completed in fewer than eight hours, they would go home but claim a full eight hours of overtime pay from the federal government, CH2M Hill acknowledged in 2013.
Brannan was accused of concealing the timecard scheme and ensuring that cleanup deadlines were met to allow CH2M Hill Hanford Group to receive corporate bonuses, according to federal documents. Brannan has denied that.
The Department of Justice began reaching settlement agreements with defendants scheduled to go to trial in February after a jury decision this fall that acquitted four other former employees of CH2M Hill Hanford Group of charges related to timecard fraud.
Eleven former employees of CH2M Hill Hanford Group, including two former supervisors, have pleaded guilty to charges related to timecard fraud and could be sentenced this spring.
Michael Ormsby, the U.S. attorney for Eastern Washington, said earlier that his office respects the decision of the jury 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.”
The agreements reached “should serve as a further warning to those who would assist fraud at Hanford in any way — we will aggressively use all tools at our disposal to appropriately hold you accountable,” he said.