Aerojet Rocketdyne Settles with DOJ for $9M
Over Cybersecurity Violations in Federal Government Contracts
July 14, 2022
Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc., headquartered in El
Segundo, California, has agreed to pay $9 million to resolve
allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by misrepresenting
its compliance with cybersecurity requirements in certain federal
government contracts, the Justice Department announced today.
Aerojet provides propulsion and power systems for launch vehicles,
missiles and satellites and other space vehicles to the Department
of Defense, NASA and other federal agencies.
The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed and litigated by former
Aerojet employee Brian Markus against Aerojet under the qui tam or
whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit a
private party (known as a relator) to file a lawsuit on behalf of
the United States and receive a portion of any recovery. Mr. Markus
and Aerojet reached a settlement of the case on the second day of
trial. Mr. Markus will receive $2.61 million as his share of the
False Claims Act recovery.
“Whistleblowers with inside information and technical expertise can
provide crucial assistance in identifying knowing cybersecurity
failures and misconduct,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney
General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil
qui tam action brought by Mr. Markus is an example of how
whistleblowers can contribute to civil enforcement of cybersecurity
requirements through the False Claims Act,” said U.S. Attorney
Phillip A. Talbert for the Eastern District of California.
On Oct. 6, 2021, the Deputy Attorney General announced the
Department’s Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative, which aims to hold
accountable entities or individuals that put U.S information or
systems at risk by knowingly providing deficient cybersecurity
products or services, knowingly misrepresenting their cybersecurity
practices or protocols, or knowingly violating obligations to
monitor and report cybersecurity incidents and breaches. Information
on how to report cyber fraud can be found here.
The qui tam case is captioned United States ex rel. Brian Markus v.
Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc., et al., Case No.
The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there
has been no determination of liability.