ZOLL Medical Corporation, headquartered in Massachusetts with locations in Rhode Island, will pay the United States $400,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the Trade Agreements Act (TAA). The United States contends that ZOLL sold replacement echocardiogram (ECG) cables to various federal government purchasers (including the Department of Defense) and, when doing so, represented that the cables had been made in the United States. ZOLL knew, however, that the cables were actually manufactured in China. These cables were purchased for use with cardiac monitors and defibrillators. The false representations occurred from January 2019 through November 2022.
TAA violations are just one type of government procurement or defense contractor fraud. Under the TAA, goods sold to the military or federal government purchasers must be made in America or certain designated foreign countries. China is not such a country.
When corporations choose to supply the American military and American government agencies with goods, the law is clear: we expect those goods to be American made. When companies fail in their legal duty by substituting foreign products for the U.S.-origin goods that the law requires, we will hold them accountable.
– Zachary A. Cunha, U.S. Attorney from the District of Rhode Island
Notably, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island has resolved two other civil matters involving misrepresentations on goods manufactured abroad. They have also prosecuted two individuals for a fraudulent scheme to import and sell Chinese-made counterfeit U.S. military uniforms to the U.S. military.
These allegations were brought to the government’s attention by our whistleblower client. With our assistance, the client filed a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit in 2019, alleging that ZOLL violated the False Claims Act. The ZOLL settlement resolves common law claims as an alternate remedy under the False Claims Act.
Our whistleblower client will receive a share of the settlement.
We are incredibly proud of our client for speaking up and sharing his concerns with the government. Like other whistleblowers, he made a difficult choice, but never wavered in his commitment. It was an honor to represent him, along with our co-counsel, Louise Herman of Herman Law Group.
From the first time we met with our client, we recognized that he was committed to doing the right thing. He was steadfast in that mission, and we are honored to have been his lawyers.
-Suzanne Durrell and Erica Blachman Hitchings
This matter was handled by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island, specifically by Assistant United States Attorneys Bethany Wong and Dulce Donovan. The government’s investigation was thorough and extensive and supported by numerous federal agencies, including:
WLC’s Erica Blachman Hitchings praised the government team:
The government’s entire investigative team in this matter was second-to-none. Their commitment to ferreting out the truth never wavered. Our client and case team here at WLC are deeply appreciative of their hard work on behalf of the American taxpayers and the agencies they represent.
WLC Founder and Managing Member Suzanne Durrell added:
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island has demonstrated a clear commitment to its False Claims Act and affirmative civil enforcement work. Civil Chief Bethany Wong steered this effort masterfully from start to finish, along with AUSA Dulce Donovan, and supported by the leadership of First Assistant Sara Miron Bloom and U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha. We are very grateful to these public servants.