(CN) – First Choice Armor & Equipment knew its Zylon bulletproof vests were defective when it sold them to federal agencies and local police forces, federal prosecutors say in District of Columbia Federal Court. When company founder Edward Dovner learned of the federal investigation, he and his wife – First Choice’s president – transferred more than $5 million from the company, with which he bought a Ferrari, a Maserati and a private jet, prosecutors say.
Prosecutors say Dovner knew that his company’s Zylon fiber was “unsafe for ballistic use.” When the National Institute of Justice tested eight of the bulletproof vests in 2005, they all failed, according to the Department of Justice.
The government sued Dovner and his company under the False Claims Act.
Federal prosecutors also are pursuing claims against Toyobo Co., manufacturer of the Zylon fiber used in First Choice’s vests, and Second Chance Body Armor and Honeywell International, which made the vests, the DOJ said in a statement. It said it has settled for $47 million with five other entities that made or sold the defective Zylon vests.