Security Supervisor at US Embassy in Afghanistan Claims Private Contractor Failed to Properly Train Security Guards
Attorney Page Pate Discusses Whistleblower Complaint Against GardaWorld Federal Services
Justin Fahn, a security supervisor at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, filed a whistleblower lawsuit claiming that his employer, a Canadian based private defense contractor named GardaWorld Federal Services, charged the United States government millions of dollars for security guards and support personnel that were not properly trained or qualified for the job. The lawsuit was unsealed by a federal judge in Macon, Georgia earlier today.
The Whistleblower Lawsuit
The lawsuit claims that GardaWorld billed the federal government for private security contractors in Afghanistan who were not qualified under the terms of the contract the company has with the State Department. GardaWorld provides security contractors at certain U.S. Embassies around the world.
Many people may not be aware that our embassies in hot spots like Afghanistan are primarily guarded by private security contractors. GardaWorld had approximately 1,000 security and support personnel in Afghanistan under their contract with the State Department. Their jobs varied, but many (like Mr. Fahn) performed vital security tasks like armed patrol and detection of potential suicide bombers.
Our lawsuit alleges that GardaWorld did not verify that their employees had received the extensive, in-depth training that the State Department requires for private security contractors before they are sent to sensitive and volatile areas like Afghanistan. The lawsuit also alleges that the company did not ensure that the security officers took the required physical fitness and other qualification tests while protecting the Embassy and other U.S. facilities in Afghanistan.
Under the False Claims Act, a government contractor like GardaWorld Federal Services, is liable for any false claim it submitted to the federal government. False claims can include invoices submitted for employees working under a government contract who did not meet the qualifications provided for in the contract. In this case, the lawsuit alleges that GardaWorld should not have billed the State Department for untrained and unqualified security personnel.
In addition to defrauding the federal government and American taxpayers, sending unqualified security personnel to guard U.S. interests in a place like Afghanistan is a potential threat to the safety of all American citizens and our allies in the region, as well as U.S. national security.
Despite the clear evidence of false invoices being submitted to the government, the Department of Justice has declined to join our whistleblower complaint at this time. Hopefully, the current Administration will soon change their position and agree with us that foreign defense contractors like GardaWorld must follow the terms of their contract or they don’t get paid. We believe that’s especially important when the purpose of the contract is to ensure the safety of our citizens and soldiers in hostile, sensitive areas like Afghanistan. In the meantime, Mr. Fahn and his legal team will pursue GardaWorld on behalf of the United States government and American taxpayers.
Who is Justin Fahn?
Prior to his evacuation with other Embassy security personnel, Justin served as a Unit Support Coordinator on the Emergency Response Team at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Justin had worked for the global private security contractor GardaWorld for 5 years, and was a supervisor since 2018. Justin is a U.S. Army veteran with 20 years of service. He held the rank of Sergeant First Class at the time of his retirement.
The Legal Team
Mr. Fahn is being represented in this case by the Page Pate and Jess Johnson at our firm. Page and Jess have helped whistleblowers report fraud and waste for over 10 years. Together, they have helped the U.S. government recover over $150 million in fraudulent claims.
For all the details on Mr. Fahn’s complaint, read the whistleblower lawsuit that was unsealed by a federal judge today.
Page Pate is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 25 years of experience in criminal defense, civil litigation, and whistleblower representation. Page is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers, and named to the list of Super Lawyers for the past 15 consecutive years. Page is a frequent expert legal analyst for local and national media and has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Georgia Law School. Read Page’s reviews on AVVO. Follow Page on Twitter @pagepate and on Linkedin.