by Ben Vernia | August 19th, 2014
On August 19, the Department of Justice announced that Samsung Electronics America, the U.S. subsidiary of the Korean electronics corporation, has paid $2.3 million to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims for goods it provided under a General Services Administration (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule Contract. According to DOJ’s press release:
Samsung Electronics America Inc. (Samsung) has agreed to pay $2.3 million to resolve allegations that it caused the submission of false claims for products sold on General Service Administration (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts in violation of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (TAA), the Justice Department announced today. Samsung is an electronics distributor and marketer headquartered in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey.
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MAS contracts are contracts awarded by GSA to multiple companies supplying comparable products and services. Once GSA negotiates and awards the contract, any federal agency may purchase under it. Like many other federal procurement contracts, GSA MAS contracts require the vendor to certify that all products it offers for sale comply with the TAA. The TAA generally requires the United States to purchase products made in the United States, or another designated country with which the United States has a trade agreement.
Samsung has authorized resellers who hold GSA MAS contracts. Samsung certifies to the authorized resellers that Samsung will provide TAA compliant products and the resellers in turn list those products on the resellers’ GSA MAS contracts. The settlement resolves allegations that, from January 2005 through August 2013, Samsung caused resellers of its products to sell items on their GSA MAS contracts in violation of the TAA by knowingly providing inaccurate information to the resellers regarding the country of origin of the goods. The United States alleges that Samsung represented to the resellers, who in turn represented to federal agencies, that the specified products were made in TAA designated countries, generally Korea or Mexico, when the specified products were in fact manufactured in China, which is not a TAA designated country.
According to DOJ, the share of the settlement to be paid to the whistleblower, a former Samsung employee, has not yet been determined.