A Kirkland, Wash.-based
freight forwarder involved in the military's program for shipping household goods of military and civilian Department of Defense
between the U.S. and foreign countries pleaded guilty to criminal offenses
related to its participation in that program, the Department of Justice
Criminal charges were filed today in U.S. District Court in Alexandria,
Va., against Air Van Lines International Inc.
(AVLC). Under the terms of a
plea agreement, AVLC pleaded guilty to two counts of engaging in a scheme
to conceal a material fact, and agreed to pay a criminal fine of $143,040.
AVLC is the seventh company to be charged in the Department's
investigation into anticompetitive and fraudulent conduct related to the
ITGBL program. Criminal fines in excess of $12 million have thus far been
imposed on six companies.
The charges relate to the company's participation in a DOD program
called the International Through Government Bill of Lading (ITGBL) program.
Under this program, freight forwarders file rates with DOD to transport the
household goods of military and civilian DOD personnel between the U.S. and
foreign countries. The companies filing the lowest rates are awarded
shipments of household goods to transport during a six-month summer or
winter "cycle." In recent years, DOD has spent hundreds of millions of
dollars annually to transport the household goods of its military and
civilian personnel between the U.S. and foreign destinations.
According to the felony charges filed against AVLC, during two separate
bidding cycles in 2000 and 2001, AVLC engaged in a scheme to falsify,
conceal and cover up the fact that its rates to transport military
household goods had not been determined in accordance with its certificate
of independent pricing. In fact, contrary to its sworn statement, its rates
had not been arrived at independently, but rather AVLC had engaged in
collusion with a competing carrier.