|TRENTON – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced today that the State will receive $400,000 from a total $1.5 million multi-state and federal settlement with Para-Plus Translations, Inc., a company accused of defrauding government agencies with which it contracted in New Jersey and elsewhere. Para-Plus company owners Robert Santiago III and Sonia Santiago also are parties to the settlement.
Based in Barrington, Camden County, Para-Plus handled interpretation, translation and transcription services for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF). The company was accused in a federal whistleblower suit of defrauding DCF, state government agencies in Delaware and New York, and some federal agencies, including components of the U.S. Justice Department. Specifically, Para-Plus allegedly committed False Claims Act violations by submitting fraudulent invoices that deliberately overstated travel time and mileage incurred by its interpreters.
“This is an important settlement for New Jersey citizens -- not only because of the dollars involved, but because of the message it sends that we take seriously our responsibility to root out fraud and protect the State’s assets,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Through our own efforts and in collaboration with our state and federal partners, we are committed to ensuring that public funds are used to benefit the public, and not to swell the coffers of unscrupulous contractors.”
The whistleblower’s lawsuit containing False Claims Act allegations against Para-Plus was filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia in 2014. Deputy Attorney General Kent D. Anderson, assigned to the Division of Law’s Government & Healthcare Fraud section, handled the Para-Plus matter on behalf of the State.
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