A maker of bulletproof vests that contained Zylon agreed to pay $1 million in fines for knowingly selling products it knew severely degraded over time, said the U.S. Department of Justice on Nov. 7
The company responsible, Point Blank Solutions Inc., (formerly DHB Industries Inc.) and its subsequent corporations , Point Blank Body Armor Inc. and Protective Apparel Corporation of America Inc., agreed to pay the million dollar penalty for violating the False Claims Act, by knowingly making and selling defective Zylon vests, said the DoJ. The payment was made to the government at the closing of the sale of the bankrupt companies' assets, it said.
Federal authorities alleged the Pompano Beach, FL, and Jacksboro, TN, companies made and sold the Zylon vests despite having information that showed the materials in them degraded quickly over time and weren't suitable for their intended purpose in stopping bullets. The Point Blank vests were bought by the federal government, and various state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, said DoJ. The purchases were partially reimbursed by the U.S. government under the Justice Department's Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, it said.
"Companies that manufacture and sell defective bulletproof vests to the government not only cheat the taxpayers, they put the lives of our men and women in law enforcement at risk," said Tony West, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Division. "We will hold accountable those who were aware of the problems with Zylon vests, yet continued to sell them anyway."
The settlement, said the Justice Department, is part of a larger investigation of the body armor industry's use of Zylon in body armor. The U.S, government has settled with nine other participants in the Zylon body armor industry for more than $61 million, it said. There are also pending lawsuits against Toyobo Co., the manufacturer of the Zylon fiber, and Honeywell Inc., Second Chance Body Armor Inc. and First Choice Armor Inc., which were involved in the production or sale of Zylon body armor, said the agency. As part of the settlement agreement, Point Blank pledged cooperation with the United States' ongoing efforts.