by Ben Vernia | October 6th, 2011
On October 6, the Department of Justice announced the settlement of the largest-ever GSA case, with Oracle:
Oracle Corp. and Oracle America Inc. have agreed to pay $199.5 million plus interest for failing to meet their contractual obligations to the General Services Administration (GSA), the Justice Department announced today. This is the largest False Claims Act settlement that the GSA has ever obtained. Oracle, which is based in Redwood City, Calif., develops, manufactures, markets, distributes and services database and middleware software, applications software and hardware systems.
This settlement relates to a contract Oracle entered into in 1998 to sell software licenses and technical support to government entities through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program. The MAS program provides the government and other GSA-authorized purchasers with a streamlined process for procurement of commonly used commercial goods and services. To be awarded a MAS contract, and thereby gain access to the broad government marketplace and the ease of administration that comes from selling to hundreds of government purchasers under one central contract, contractors must agree to disclose commercial pricing policies and practices, and to abide by the contract terms.
The settlement resolves allegations that, in contract negotiations and over the course of the contract’s administration, Oracle knowingly failed to meet its contractual obligations to provide GSA with current, accurate and complete information about its commercial sales practices, including discounts offered to other customers, and that Oracle knowingly made false statements to GSA about its sales practices and discounts. The settlement further resolves allegations that Oracle knowingly failed to comply with the price reduction clause of its GSA contract by not disclosing to GSA discounts Oracle gave to its commercial customers when they were higher than the discounts that Oracle had disclosed to GSA, and by failing to pass those discounts on to government customers. Because of these allegedly fraudulent dealings, the United States alleges that it accepted lower discounts and ultimately paid far more than it should have for Oracle products.
The government announced that the whistleblower, a former Oracle employee, will receive $40 million (a 20% share).