Architecture and construction firm Novum Structures, based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., has agreed to pay $3 million to settle civil and criminal charges that it defrauded the federal government's "Buy American" rules for contractors.
The U.S. Department of Justice charged that Novum repackaged steel and other construction materials from foreign countries and made them appear as if it were sourced in the U.S. The firm used the materials on government projects around the country.
Federal laws require the use of American-made materials in construction projects funded with federal funds. Novum specializes in glass enclosures, atriums, canopies, and skylights.
A Novum spokesman said there was never any concern about the quality of materials used, and that the non-compliant materials represented less than 3% of the value of the work Novum did on projects subject to the “Buy American” requirements. The case began with a whistle blower lawsuit that was unsealed this month.