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Bankrupt Body Armorers Cough up $1 Million

(CN) - Three Zylon bulletproof vest-makers paid the United States $1 million for selling vests they knew were defective, in violation of the False Claims Act. The money came from the assets sales of the now-bankrupt companies Point Blank Solutions, Point Blank Body Armor and Protective Apparel Corporation of America.

The companies "sold Zylon bulletproof vests despite possessing information showing that the Zylon materials degraded quickly over time and were not suitable for ballistic use," the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Federal, state, local and tribal governments bought the bum vests and were partially reimbursed under the Justice Department's Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program.

Point Blank, based in Pompano Beach, Fla., cashed in on the U.S. military's demand for body armor after Sept. 11, 2011, but filed for bankruptcyin April 2010.

"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," the Department of Justice said in its statement.

"We will hold accountable those who were aware of the problems with Zylon vests, yet continued to sell them anyway."

The federal government has settled with nine other Zylon body armor-makers for more than $61 million and has lawsuits pending against Honeywell, Second Chance Body Armor and First Choice Armor, and another complaint against ToyoboCo., which makes the Zylon fiber.

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