According to Watchdog.org, Hawaii’s largest cargo container shipping company, Matson Navigation, has agreed to pay $9.95 million to settle allegations that it, along with Horizon Lines, another major Hawaiian cargo container shipping company, improperly billed the United States Department of Defense for ocean transport fuel charges when rail was used for some portions. Mario Rizzo, an Illinois freight consultant, brought the allegations in 2010 when he filed suit under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Rizzo and his attorneys pursued the action even after the United States Department of Justice declined to intervene. As a result, Rizzo will receive approximately $2.5 million of the settlement amount for his efforts.
Matson is currently facing two additional federal investigations: one relating to the September 2013 molasses spill into Honolulu Harbor and the other relating to pricing and other competitive practices of carriers operating in domestic trade. Both may subject Matson to further fines and penalties.
To report fraud under the False Claims Act, please contact Frohsin & Barger.