WASHINGTON (June 8)—Bell Avon Inc., a Picayune, Miss.-based subsidiary of British tire and rubber products maker Avon P.L.C., has agreed to return $735,000 in payments and supply new fuel storage tanks worth more than $500,000 to replace faulty tanks supplied by Bell Avon to the U.S. military during 1994 and 1995, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Bell Avon executives learned that the then-general manager of the Picayune plant ordered employees to cut corners on required Defense Department strength testing for the tanks, and that this improper testing led to the shipment of leaky tanks, the Justice Department said. The executives then fired the manager, who was not named in the department news release, and notified military authorities. Brad Pigott, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, praised Bell Avon in the release as "a historically responsible contractor" which "acted expeditiously" to correct improper activities.
Bell Avon voluntarily notifies government of defense fraud
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