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Military contractor to pay $900,000 in suit over F-16 seals

October 14, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A judgment of nearly $900,000 has been reached in a lawsuit that alleged a military contractor sold faulty seals for F-16 fighter jets to the U.S. Air Force.
An investigation found that a Salt Lake City-based Fifeco Inc., which is now defunct, knowingly used shoddy materials when manufacturing the seals used on F-16 canopies. The materials made the seals unsafe and would have put pilots at risk, Federal prosecutors said.

The defective seals didn't meet safety requirements and were not used on the aircraft.

Government investigators also found Fifeco manufactured the seals when the company was only authorized to supply seals from other manufacturers.

The seals were not used on any jets because they did not meet U.S. Air Force specifications.

Company owner Noman Fife and Fifeco Inc. were ordered to pay $884,203.53 to the federal government. Almost $284,000 of that is to reimburse payments that the now-defunct company received from the government for the faulty F-16 seals.

Fifeco has also been barred from performing work on any government contracts for three years.

An attorney for the contractor says the settlement was reached because Fife is ill and not healthy enough to go through a trial.

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