The federal government said it agreed to a Japanese company’s paying the United States $1.5 million for providing defective Zylon body armor materials.
The U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday the payment will resolve potential issues under the False Claims Act relating to the importation and sale of the defective gear by N.I. Teijin Shoji Co. Ltd., aka N.I. Teisho of Japan, and N.I. Teijin Shoji, Inc., an American subsidiary.
The companies imported the fiber on behalf of Toyobo Co. Ltd., of Japan, the manufacturer of Zylon, a fabric in the vests. The fiber degraded rapidly, making the vests unfit for their intended use, the Justice Department said.
Manufacturers knew of defects in Zylon body armor
The companies knew of the defect but did not inform the United States of the problem or stop selling the Zylon fiber for its intended use, the government said. Instead, Teijin personnel continued to market the fiber and understated the gravity of Zylon’s degradation problems.
“Those who knowingly provide defective material for bulletproof vests not only cheat the taxpayers, they put the lives of law enforcement officers at risk. We will pursue any company that is aware of problems with Zylon body armor fiber, yet continues to market and sell it anyway,” said Tony West, the Justice Department Civil Division’s assistant attorney general.
Prior to the settlement, the government settled for more than $59 million with eight other Zylon body armor companies in the Zylon body armor market, the government said. Teijin pledged its cooperation in the government’s ongoing investigation as part of Tuesday’s agreement, the Justice Department said.