IT contractor pays $4.6 million for inflating costs of PCs delivered to government

by Ben Vernia | August 13th, 2015

On August 11, the Department of Justice announced that an IT hardware contractor had agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle a whistleblower’s allegations that the company submitted inflated charges for PCs sold to Sandia National Laboratories. According to DOJ’s press release:

PC Specialists Inc., doing business as Technology Integration Group (TIG), has agreed to pay the United States $5.9 million to settle allegations that the company inflated the price of computers sold through another company to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for use at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  TIG, headquartered in San Diego, buys computers and other technology products for resale to other purchasers.

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From 2003 to 2013, TIG sold Dell computers to Sandia Corporation for resale to the United States under Sandia’s contract with the NNSA.  The NNSA purchased the computers for use at Sandia National Laboratories.  The United States alleged that TIG knowingly inflated the amounts it charged Sandia by failing to give credits for rebates and discounts it received from Dell as required by its contract and causing false claims to the government for the inflated prices.

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In a separate but related matter, in April 2015, TIG entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Mexico regarding allegations that three employees in TIG’s Albuquerque branch office engaged in a scheme to defraud the United States by inflating the amounts it charged Sandia for computers.  The non-prosecution agreement in that matter required TIG to terminate the employment of the three employees in its Albuquerque branch office – a vice president, a senior account executive and an accounts executive – who participated in and profited from the scheme.  The non-prosecution agreement also required TIG to retain and pay for an independent monitor selected by the U.S. Attorney’s Office who is responsible for monitoring TIG’s compliance with the agreement, and TIG policies, procedures and training relating to federal government contracts over the agreement’s three-year term.

According to the government, the relator will receive a share of the settlement that has yet to be determined.

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