U.S. Intervenes in Symantec False Claims Whistleblower Lawsuit Targeting Computer Software Contract By Tod Aronovitz | 08/07/14 | 0 Comment

The United States has intervened in a False Claims whistleblower lawsuit against Symantec Corporation about pricing. The case, which was filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, alleges that the Fortune 500 company submitted false claims to the government on a General Services Administration (GSA) software contract, the Justice Department recently announced.

Symantec, which sells a variety of computer security software and products, was granted a Multiple Award Schedule contract with GSA in 2007, which allowed the Mountainview, Calif.-based company to sell its products directly to federal purchasers.

The False Claims whistleblower suit alleges that during the negotiation process and performance of the contract, Symantec was not fully up front about the prices it quotes to its commercial customers, therefore, providing inaccurate and incomplete information to the government.

GSA used Symantec’s disclosures to negotiate minimum discounts the company was required to provide government agencies that bought its software. The contract also required Symantec to inform GSA of any updates to commercial discounts and to extend the same improved discounts to government purchasers.

The False Claims whistleblower suit accuses Symantec of misrepresenting its actual commercial sales practices, and contends those inaccuracies led government customers to pay more than the company’s commercial non-government customers. Ultimately, the government missed out on discounts connected to hundreds of millions of dollars in sales throughout the duration of the contract from 2007 to 2012, the suit alleges.

“This lawsuit demonstrates the government’s commitment to ensuring that the companies it does business with act with integrity,” said Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “When the United States spends taxpayer dollars based on contractors’ representations about their business practices, we expect to be given complete and accurate information.”

According to U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. for the District of Columbia, “When doing business with the government, honesty and transparency are essential.”

“We are committed to ensuring that contractors who do business with the federal government provide honest services, prices and products. We will continue to work with relators and federal investigators to protect federal taxpayer money,” he said.

This matter was investigated by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and GSA’s Office of Inspector General.

The case, which is pending in the District of Columbia, is captioned United States ex rel. Morsell v. Symantec Corp., No. 12cv00800 (D.D.C.).

How to File a Whistleblower Qui Tam Claim

Software company sales representatives, executives or billing employees who have knowledge of questionable billing practices on federal or state government contracts can file a confidential legal claim under the False Claims Act. By acting as a “whistleblower” in what is known as a “qui tam” lawsuit, a private party may collect up to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam Law Firm

The Miami Qui Tam law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW routinely works with whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss your case.