Federal prosecutors and a laser firm in Golden reach an out-of-court agreement.

BY LOGAN SMITH, edited by News Gate Team

File photo of a red laser beam. 

In order to settle claims made by the US Department of Justice that Vescent Photonics, Inc. had misappropriated federal grants intended for small enterprises in the US, the company agreed to pay more than $400,000.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged the laser technology company with hiring “two foreign nationals, situated in other nations, to do research and development” on projects for which Vescent had received federal funding in a news release issued last week.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Air Force each gave Vescent a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, according to the DOJ.

According to the DOJ’s announcement, “(SBIR) awards are provided to qualifying small enterprises by various government agencies for them to use domestically, in conducting research, and in creating technologies with potential commercial value.”

These grants’ dollar amounts and the dates on which Vescent received them were not disclosed. The names of the two putative subcontractors employed by Vescent were also unknown.

According to a press release from the DOJ, James P. Stoddard, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Air Force, Office of Special Investigations (OSI), said that the settlement “represents the combined efforts of partnering agencies to defend programmes designed to assist domestic small businesses to ensure they are able to thrive and compete.” We completely commit to preserving the integrity of acquisition programmes financed by the Air Force.

According to the company’s website, Vescent Photonics is a pioneer in the development and production of high-precision laser and electro-optic technology.

Scott Davis, co-founder and CEO of Vescent, issued the following statement in reaction to the settlement:

“The DOJ recognises in their press release that “The claims settled by this settlement are allegations only.” Any accusations of wrongdoing against Vescent are denied. In spite of this, a settlement was much less expensive than a trial. Being a tiny business, we decided to take the quicker, less expensive path to refocusing on our purpose, which is to develop and produce significant laser technology for use in field-deployed quantum applications in the US.”

BY LOGAN SMITH, edited by News Gate Team

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