Mission Essential Personnel, a government contractor providing language translators in Afghanistan, has recently lost a motion to dismiss a False Claims Act case filed by whistleblower Paul Funk. Funk, a former manager in 2007 and 2008, alleges that MEP committed fraud on the government by providing substandard translators overseas.
MEP received a $1.4 million government contract in 2007 to provide approximately 6,000 translators for the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command in Afghanistan. Non-U.S. citizens and Afghans comprise 3/4 of the translators, the remainder being Americans with security clearances. Funk alleges a pattern of fraud in which MEP would doctor test results, provide cheat sheets to employees, and advance employees despite failing grades.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema rejected MEP’s motion to dismiss the case, on the grounds that qualified translators working in war zones are essential to the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.