File photo. 

The Boeing Company settled the U.S. Air Force’s case against them for $18 million, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today.

The Air Force alleged the company submitted false claims for labor on maintenance contracts for the C-17 Globemaster aircraft, work that took place at Boeing’s Long Beach Depot Center.

“Defense contractors are required to obey the rules when billing for work performed on government contracts,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division in a statement. “Today’s settlement demonstrates that the Justice Department will ensure that government contractors meet their obligations and charge the government appropriately.”

According to a DOJ release, the government alleged Boeing knowingly charged the Air Force for the time mechanics spent on breaks and lunch hours instead of time spent repairing the aircraft.

The release stated that former Boeing employee James Thomas Webb acted as qui tam, or whistleblower, under the False Claims Act, which allows a former employee to sue a company that falsely claimed federal funds on behalf of the government. His share of the settlement has yet to be calculated, the release stated.