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NASA Contractors Accused of Fraud Over Vehicle Tire Replacements

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Two contractors hired to manage NASA's vehicle fleet at the Kennedy Space Center defrauded the agency of at least $387,000 for unnecessary tire replacements, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by federal prosecutors in Florida.

The complaint accuses URS Federal Services Inc of Maryland, owned by the global management services firm AECOM Technology Corp, and its subcontractor, Yang Enterprises of Florida, of systematically defrauding the government between 2009 and 2015 by filing more than 1,000 claims for undocumented and unreasonable early replacement of car tires. URS, AECOM and Yang did not immediately responded to requests for comment.

URS Federal Solutions, based in Germantown, Maryland, holds a $1.4 billion services contract at Kennedy Space Center, and subcontracted management of the 400-vehicle fleet to Yang, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit brought under False Claims Act was filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and seeks "treble damages" for the government. In one example, URS billed the government $1,800 to replace the tires six times within 27 months on one vehicle. Some of the tires had fewer than 5,000 miles of use on them, according to the lawsuit.

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