A new lawsuit lobs some explosive charges at Force Protection ( FRPT). In a suit filed last week, Force Protection founder Garth Barrett and ex-finance chief Thomas Thebes accuse their former employer of "widespread corporate fraud, interested transactions by board members and securities violations." Barrett and Thebes say current and former top execs at Force Protection lined their pockets with millions of dollars through self-dealing. The claims mark the latest twist in an ugly spat between Force Protection and Protected Vehicles, a small armored car company started by Barrett and Thebes. Force Protection sued the Protected Vehicles execs in August, claiming they stole trade secrets to design competing military vehicles for the global war on terror. Force Protection denies Protected Vehicles' own allegations, which were outlined in a suit filed last Tuesday in federal court in South Carolina. The company says that "counterclaims made by Protected Vehicles are nothing more than stale accusations that have already been addressed thoroughly and satisfactorily by Force Protection and outside agencies." Once a mere penny stock, Force Protection has soared since the company started winning big government orders for so-called mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles. Force Protection now competes in a field that includes titans such as General Dynamics ( GD), Navistar ( NAVZ) and armor company Ceradyne ( CRDN). But the former execs' suit questions some of the transactions that paved the way for Force Protection's recent gains.