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Uncle Sam goes after First Choice Armor & Equipment for Zylon vests

The U.S. Government has filed a false claims lawsuit against another company, First Choice Armor & Equipment, Inc., caught up in the expanding case against firms manufacturing suppos-edly bullet-proof vests using Zylon fiber and selling those vests to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

The Department of Justice on August 3 accused the company and its founder, Edward Dovner, with submitting false claims related to its sales between 2000 and 2005 of Zylon vests, which it said were a thinner and more lightweight alter-native to other bullet-proof vests.

'The United States alleges that at the same time First Choice was selling Zylon bullet-proof vests, the company and its founder knew of significant manufacturing and degradation problems in the Zylon fiber that rendered the material unsafe for ballistic use,' said a DoJ press statement issued on August 11.

The U.S. has also accused Dovner and his wife, Karen Herman, who serves as president of First Choice, with fraudulently removing more than $5 million from First Choice's accounts, after learning about the pending government investigation, and using those funds to purchase a Ferrari, a Maserati and a private jet, through various shell companies.

'The United States is already pursuing lawsuits against Toyobo Co., the manufacturer of Zylon fiber used in the First Choice bullet-proof vests, as well as Second Chance Body Armor and Honeywell International Inc., two other companies that manufactured Zylon vests or components for those vests,' said the DoJ statement.

The government previously settled for $47 million with five other companies allegedly involved in the manufacture or sale of defective Zylon vests.


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