Allterra Environmental settles with state over fraud allegations

By on July 20, 2020
State Water Board fraud.

A Santa Cruz-based consulting company accused of inflating invoices tied to work with the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund has agreed to pay more than $100,000 in penalties as part of a settlement agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board.

The company, currently doing business as Allterra Solar, submitted invoices that included padded expenses, exaggerated hours for project management and excessive mileage tallies, according to the settlement approved by the State Water Board.

“Honest invoicing of actual costs for reasonable and necessary services is essential to the relationship between the Cleanup Fund program and the consultant community,” said Yvonne West, director of the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement. “We will vigorously investigate and prosecute firms and individuals who falsify invoices or otherwise inflate costs to obtain unjustified reimbursements.”

The State Water Board alleged that Allterra’s geologist made misrepresentations with reimbursement requests that included excessive project management hours as well as mileage reimbursement costs for employees who never requested reimbursement nor received the reimbursement funds that were paid to Allterra.

As part of the January 2020 settlement, Allterra will pay a $106,533 penalty, and the company and its chief executive officer, James Allen, will be banned from participating in any State Water Board reimbursement program, including the Cleanup Fund.

Suspected fraud, waste and/or abuse against the Cleanup Fund can be reported by email at reportfraud@waterboards.ca.gov or by calling toll-free 1-855-263-0863.