Accenture LLP has agreed to pay the United States $63.675 million to resolve a whistleblower lawsuit, the Justice Department announced Monday.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, alleges that Accenture submitted or caused to be submitted false claims for payment under numerous contracts with agencies of the United States for information technology services.
Accenture has agreed to resolve allegations that it received kickbacks for its recommendations of hardware and software to the government, fraudulently inflated prices and rigged bids in connection with federal information technology contracts.
“Kickbacks and bid rigging undermine the integrity of the federal procurement process,” said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “At a time when we’re looking for ways to reduce our public spending, it is especially important to ensure that government contractors play by the rules and don’t waste precious taxpayer dollars.”
“We strive each and every day to bring justice to the citizens of the Eastern District of Arkansas,” stated Christopher R. Thyer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “Fraudulent business practices that steal hard earned and much needed tax dollars from appropriate use will not be tolerated. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to pursuing these cases to the full extent of the law.”
The lawsuit was initially filed by Norman Rille and Neal Roberts under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the federal False Claims Act, which permit private individuals, called “relators” to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds of a settlement or judgment awarded against a defendant. The portion of the proceeds to be paid in this case has not yet been resolved.
“Companies profiting off the breach of their government contracts will pay,” said Brian D. Miller, General Services Administration Inspector General.
The case was handled by the Department of Justice’s Civil Division and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas, with the assistance of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Offices of Inspector General of the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, Department of Treasury Tax Administration (TIGTA), General Services Administration, Department of State and Transportation Security Administration.
The Justice Department’s total recoveries in False Claims Act cases since January 2009 are more than $7.5 billion.