WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has reached a settlement with the company that provided faulty components that led to the failure of back-to-back Taurus launches for NASA.
In an April 23 statement, the Justice Department said it reached a plea agreement with Oregon-based Hydro Extrusion Portland, Inc., formerly known as Sapa Profiles Inc. (SPI), and its parent company, Hydro Extrusion USA, LLC, formerly known as Sapa Extrusions Inc. (SEI), over charges that they falsified test results for aluminum extrusions it manufactured for various customers, including the U.S. government.
SPI agreed to plead guilty to one count of mail fraud while SEI entered into a deferred prosecution agreement. SPI will pay $34.1 million in combined restitution to NASA, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and commercial customers, and forfeit $1.8 million in “ill-gotten gains.” The company will also pay an additional $6 million to NASA and $5 million to MDA as part of a separate civil settlement.
The companies acknowledged that SPI altered test results for nearly two decades, starting in the mid-1990s, such that aluminum extrusions that had failed mechanical properties testing instead appeared to have passed. Dennis Balius, a testing lab supervisor at SPI who led the effort to falsify ...