Washington, D.C. September 26, 2005. In sworn deposition testimony, Second Chance Body Armor whistleblower Dr. Aaron Westrick testified that the President of the United States, the First Lady and members of the US Army Central Command all wore defective bullet proof vests sold by Second Chance. According to a story released by the Associated Press, Second Chance officials who profited from these sales are now under criminal investigation.
The US Department of Justice has already civilly sued Second Chance and Toyobo in federal court based on the fraudulent sale of defective bullet proof vests. Toyobo is a named defendant because it manufactured the defective material (Zylon) which was used to construct the Second Chance vests.
Dr. Westrick worked as the research chief for Second Chance, but was removed from managerial responsibilities after he recommended that the company inform its customers that the vests were defective. He was terminated by Second Chance once the company learned that Westrick has provided documents to the Department of Justice that documenting corporate greed over protecting the lives of police officers. Specifically, Westrick provided documentation that continued sale of the vests would result in the loss of life. Despite these warnings, the company continued selling the vests.
Dr. Westrick’s counsel, Stephen M. Kohn, issued the following statement:
“Toyobo and Second Chance officials knew the vests would fail. Greed prevailed over the safety of even the President of the United States. The corporate officials who profited by selling defective vests must be held accountable and face prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. Once again, the public interest was served by a whistleblower with the courage to expose corporate misconduct and provided documented evidence to the Justice Department.”
Kohn, who also serves as the Chair of the National Whistleblowers Center, praised Dr. Westrick for saving critical internal corporate documents which demonstrate that Second Chance and Toyobo officials knew of the defects in the vest at the time of the sales in question.
- Maker of Bulletproof Vest May Face Charges
By John Solomon, Associated Press, September 26, 2005