More than six years ago, whistleblowers Norman Rille and Neal Roberts alleged under seal in a federal qui tam action that Hewlett-Packard “knowingly paid kickbacks, or ‘influencer fees,’ to systems integrator companies in return for recommendations that federal agencies purchase HP’s products.” This week HP agreed to pay $55,000,000.00 to settle those allegations as well as disputed claims that they deceived General Service Administration contracting officers. According to a DoJ statement issued Monday:
“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.”
FraudBlawg previously has reported similar settlements, including a recent settlement of $87.5 million with EMC Corporation. Whistleblowers Rille and Roberts may share in over $10 million as a result of the settlement.
To report kickbacks or fraudulent pricing in government contracts, contact Frohsin & Barger.