The opinion of the court was delivered by: LUONGO
This is a suit by the United States against defendants, Charles C. Hibbs and Fairhill Company, Inc., under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 231, et seq.,
arising from false certifications which induced the Federal Housing Administration (hereafter FHA) to insure certain mortgages. The mortgagors defaulted on the mortgages and the United States was called upon to honor the claims of the mortgagee. It now seeks to recover statutory forfeitures plus double the amounts it was required to pay out on the defaulted mortgages, including acquisition and maintenance expenses in connection with the defaulted mortgage properties.
The matter was tried to the Court on March 22-24, 1976. Upon pleadings and proof, I make the following
1. Defendant Charles C. Hibbs is an individual engaged in the business of selling real estate. He resides in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
2. Defendant Fairhill Company, Inc. is a corporation organized pursuant to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is engaged in the selling of real estate with its principal place of business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
3. No evidence was presented at trial as to defendant Fairhill Company, Inc.
4. On April 24, 1973, under Criminal No. 72-600 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Charles C. Hibbs was convicted for making or causing to be made false statements to the Federal Housing Administration for the purpose of inducing agency action in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1010.
5. The indictment consisted of 39 counts, three for each of 13 properties located in the 2900 block of North Marshall Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, charging the submission of false statements in certifications as to the condition of the roof and the plumbing and heating and electrical systems in said properties.
6. Hibbs was the real estate broker on each of the properties, six of which (2909, 2911, 2915, 2917, 2923 and 2933 North Marshall Street) are involved in the present litigation.
8. When an appraiser is confronted with conditions as to which he lacks expertise, he requests that the broker obtain certifications from a contractor that certain structural components comply with specifications or that certain work has been done according to specifications.
9. In those instances where certifications are requested, the FHA will not insure the mortgages unless such ...