Recently, Oracle settled a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit for $46 million with the U.S. government regarding allegations under the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Act. The complaint alleged that Sun Microsystems Inc. (“Sun”), which was bought by Oracle in 2009 for about $7.4 billion, knowingly paid kickbacks to consulting companies in exchange for their recommendations to federal agencies to purchase Sun’s products.
The qui tam whistleblower lawsuit was originally filed in 2004 by 2 whistleblowers in Arkansas and was subsequently joined by the government in 2007.
The 2 whistleblowers, Norman Rille, a former manager at Accenture, and Neal Roberts, a former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PwC”), alleged in their qui tam whistleblower lawsuit that dozens of IT vendors and systems integrators had a widespread kickback scheme in trying to obtain government contracts. They also alleged that Sun paid consulting companies every time they influenced a government agency to purchase Sun products. As qui tam whistleblowers, Rille and Roberts will share in 15%- 25% of the government’s recovery. If you observe fraud being committed against the government at your place of employment, contact our Whistleblower, False Claims and Qui Tam Lawyers for an immediate confidential consultation at (800) 893-9645. As you can see the case against Sun, and later Oracle, took years to build. It is critical that whistleblowers speak with experienced attorneys before taking any steps that could prove fatal to the case.
The federal government has stated that these kickbacks are “part of a larger, ongoing investigation of government technology vendors that has resulted in settlements to date with six other companies.” In fact, several other companies have settled regarding similar allegations under the False Claims Act. IBM agreed to a $3 million settlement, PwC agreed to pay $2.3 million and Computer Sciences agreed to a settlement of $1.4 million.
When companies use undue influence and conspire to obtain lucrative government contracts, the government loses its ability to make an informed decision. It is a crime against all taxpayers when the government is mislead and does not award contracts to the companies with the best prices and products. As evidenced by the flurry of recent lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act, the government is clearly cracking down on fraud and kickbacks with the help of concerned, private individuals. If you observe fraud being committed against the government, at your workplace, help save your tax dollars and call our experienced Whistleblower Attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to help you decide if you have a case under the False Claims Act.
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