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DOJ Joins Whistleblower Lawsuit against Symantec

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has joined a whistleblower lawsuit that claims that computer software giant Symantec overcharged the government and several states by tens of millions of dollars.

The lawsuit alleges that California-based Symantec misrepresented to the General Services Administration the markdowns it was offering commercial customers for its products, the Washington Post reported. Since the government’s price for those software was based on the fraudulent discounts commercial firms received, the government was charged a higher price, according to the lawsuit.

“When doing business with the government, honesty and transparency are essential,” U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. said in a statement obtained by the Washington Post. “We are committed to ensuring that contractors who do business with the federal government provide honest services, prices and products.”

Symantec has denied the allegations, saying it takes all compliance rules seriously and that it followed all GSA Schedule and state contract program rules. The company said it has been compliant with the government since it first launched an investigation in June 2012.

The lawsuit was first filed in 2012 by whistleblower, Lori Morsell. Even after filing the lawsuit, Morsell has continued to work for the company. The Justice Department joined the suit last week, according to the Washington Post.

The contract between Symantec and the DOJ existed between 2007 and 2012 and involved hundreds of millions of dollars in software sales.

Whistleblowers have played a major role in the U.S. government cracking down on fraud in recent years. Thanks to these whistleblowers, the U.S. government is slated to receive a record amount of payouts for contractor-fraud lawsuits by the end of the fiscal year.

In November, Johnson and Johnson (J& J) agreed to pay $2.2 billion for its off-label promotion and use of Risperdal and other drugs. Thanks to this agreement, the DOJ should collect more than $5 billion under the federal False Claims Act by the close of fiscal year 2014, Patrick Burns, co-director of the nonprofit Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund told Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

The large sum of money collected thanks to the efforts of whistleblowers shows that the governments decision to increase payouts to people who speak up about corruption is working. The government collected $86 million in 1987, the year it decided to significantly increase payouts to whistleblowers, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. That year, 30 citizens filed cases qui tam, compared to a record 753 people who filed cases in 2013. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, whistleblowers were responsible for 89 percent of DOJ fraud cases filed that year.

breakinglawsuitnews.com disclaimer: This article: DOJ Joins Whistleblower Lawsuit against Symantec was posted on Monday, August 11th, 2014 at 5:10 pm at breakinglawsuitnews.com and is filed under Fraud Lawsuits.

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