Oil and Gas Companies Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit for $15 Million
The Justice Department announced that Total Fina, S.A., Total Minatome Corporation, Total Exploration Production USA, Inc., Fina Oil and Chemical Company, Elf Exploration, Inc. and Total E & P USA, Inc. (collectively “Total Companies”) have agreed to settle a qui tam lawsuit with payment of $15 million to the United States government.
The qui tam, or whistleblower, lawsuit initiated by Harrold Wright alleged that the Total Companies underpaid royalties owed to the United States Department of the Interior for natural gas produced from government and Indian land leases.
The Complaint, filed under the False Claims Act, alleged that the Total Companies improperly deducted from the royalty values the costs of boosting gas up to pipeline pressures, reported processed gas as unprocessed in order to reduce royalty payments, and engaged in a variety of other under-reporting activities as alleged in various administrative actions initiated against the Total Companies.
Because the whistleblower, Harrold Wright, is now deceased, his heirs will receive the $23,000, plus interest qui tam reward. This amount represents 25% of the $92,000 settlement that is allocated to the claims initially brought by Mr. Wright.
If you have any firsthand knowledge, information, or evidence related to any federal, state, county or city government fraud, you should speak with an experienced qui tam lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you have a claim, contact the Florida whistleblower attorneys at Rabin Kammerer Johnson for a free and confidential consultation by calling toll free at 877.915.4040.