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Boeing Charged With Using Defective Gears

May 03, 1997|Ralph Vartabedian

The Justice Department charged Boeing Co. with civil fraud in connection with using defective gears on hundreds of Chinook military helicopters--two of which crashed. The lawsuit alleged that Seattle-based Boeing continued to use the gears supplied by subcontractor SPECO Corp. for seven years after both companies knew that the helicopters were failing because of manufacturing flaws. Boeing denied the allegations. The suit, originally filed in 1995 by a former SPECO employee under the federal False Claims Act, is seeking triple the $30-million lost in the two crashes and unspecified damages for replacing defective gears. There were two minor injuries in the crashes of the Chinook CH-47D helicopters, one in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War and the other at Fort Meade, Md. SPECO, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, settled charges for $7.2 million in December and is no longer part of the lawsuit.

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