DOJ announces $55 million settlement with HP over GSA fraud allegations

by Ben Vernia | August 30th, 2010

As presaged by HP’s August 2 announcement of an agreement in principle, the Department of Justice announced on August 30 that it had agreed to a $55 million settlement with the company. According to DOJ’s press release:

This settlement resolves allegations under the False Claims Act that HP knowingly paid kickbacks, or “influencer fees,” to systems integrator companies in return for recommendations that federal agencies purchase HP’s products. The settlement also resolves claims that HP’s 2002 contract with the GSA was defectively priced because HP provided incomplete information to GSA contracting officers during contract negotiations.
* * *
The allegations that HP improperly paid kickbacks were first made in a lawsuit that whistleblowers Norman Rille and Neal Roberts filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas in 2004. Under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, private citizens may file actions for fraud on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery.
* * *
HP disclosed the defective pricing allegations resolved by today’s settlement to GSA contracting officials. In 2002, HP entered into a contract with GSA to sell computer equipment and software to federal agencies. Under applicable regulations and contract provisions, HP was required to tell GSA how it conducted business in the commercial marketplace so that GSA could use that information to negotiate a fair price for government customers using the GSA contract to purchase HP products. HP informed GSA contracting officials in 2007 that it might not have complied with all applicable provisions of the GSA contract. This disclosure led to an audit by the GSA Office of Inspector General (GSA-OIG), which concluded that the contract had been defectively priced.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Recent Comments