On October 6, 2011, the Justice Department announced a significant settlement with Oracle to resolve False Claims Act allegations. In particular, Oracle Corp. and Oracle America Inc. have agreed to pay $199.5 million plus interest for allegedly failing to meet their contractual obligations to the General Services Administration (GSA).
According to the government, this settlement relates to a 1998 contract to sell software licenses and technical support through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program. The government said, “The MAS program provides the government and other GSA-authorized purchasers with a streamlined process for procurement of commonly used commercial goods and services. To be awarded a MAS contract, and thereby gain access to the broad government marketplace and the ease of administration that comes from selling to hundreds of government purchasers under one central contract, contractors must agree to disclose commercial pricing policies and practices, and to abide by the contract terms.”
The settlement resolves allegations that, in contract negotiations and over the course of the contract’s administration, Oracle “knowingly failed to meet its contractual obligations to provide GSA with current, accurate, and complete information about its commercial sales practices, including discounts offered to other customers, and that Oracle knowingly made false statements to GSA about its sales practices and discounts.”
The settlement further resolves allegations that Oracle “knowingly failed to comply with the price reduction clause of its GSA contract by not disclosing to GSA discounts Oracle gave to its commercial customers when they were higher than the discounts that Oracle had disclosed to GSA, and by failing to pass those discounts on to government customers.”
As a result, the government alleged that it accepted lower discounts and ultimately paid more than it should have for Oracle products. The suit originated as a whistleblower suit filed in federal court in Virginia. According to the Justice Department, the former Oracle employee who blew the whistle will recover $40 million as his share in the qui tam suit.