- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) - Federal charges related to time card fraud are expected to be dropped for two former managers and a former supervisor of CH2M Hill Hanford Group after they agreed to pay civil fines.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that Ryan Dodd and Terrence Hissong have each paid fines of $44,000 to settle allegations.

Stephanie Livesey, a supervisor, agreed to pay a fine of $22,000.

The settlement agreements were not an admission of liability by any of the three defendants nor a concession by the federal government that its claims were not well-founded, the Justice Department said.

The Tri-City Herald reported ( https://bit.ly/1Al1TK9 ) that Dodd, Hissong and Livesey, who were scheduled for trial in February, all contend they did not knowingly aid in time card fraud.

The settlement followed a jury decision this fall that four other former employees of CH2M Hill Hanford Group, also known as CHG, were not guilty of fraud charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington respected the decision of the jury, said U.S. attorney Michael Ormsby in a statement.

“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 CHG - that there was a systemic pattern of time card fraud at CHG that stole millions from the taxpayers,” Ormsby said.

CH2M Hill Hanford Group agreed in 2013 to pay $18.5 million to settle civil and criminal allegations of defrauding taxpayers through widespread time card fraud at the federal Hanford Nuclear Reservation. CH2M Hill was the Department of Energy’s Hanford tank farm contractor from 1999 to 2008.

The tanks contain millions of gallons of radioactive waste left over from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons, and the government is funding a multi-decade effort to clean up the wastes.

Workers at Hanford were accused of refusing to work overtime unless it was offered in eight-hour blocks. When overtime assignments were completed they would go home, but claim a full eight hours of overtime that would be paid with taxpayer money, CH2M Hill acknowledged in 2013.

The settlement does not release 23 other former employees of CH2M Hill from possible liability, including some who have not been charged.

One former employee of CH2M Hill Hanford Group remains scheduled to go to trial in February. In addition, 11 former employees have pleaded guilty to charges related to time card fraud and could be sentenced this spring.


Information from: Tri-City Herald, https://www.tri-cityherald.com

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