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DOJ intervenes in whistleblower suit against Symantec Corp

The United States has intervened in a whistleblower lawsuit against Symantec Corporation, alleging that Symantec submitted false claims to the United States on a General Services Administration (GSA) software contract.

The Justice Department announced its intervention in the lawsuit Thursday, saying it was protecting taxpayer dollars that were spent based on Symantec’s representations about its business practices. 

“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.   

In 2007, Symantec, a California-based maker of computer security products, entered into a Multiple Award Schedule contract with the GSA that allowed Symantec to sell software and related items directly to federal purchasers. 

The suit in which DOJ is intervening was filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which permits private parties to sue on behalf of the government for the submission of false claims for government funds and receive a share of any recovery.

This lawsuit alleges that Symantec knowingly provided the United States with inaccurate and incomplete information about the prices it was offering to its commercial customers during the negotiation and performance of the contract.

The GSA used Symantec’s disclosures about its commercial sales practices to negotiate the minimum discounts Symantec was required to provide government agencies that bought Symantec software, the DOJ said.

The contract required Symantec to update the GSA when commercial discounts improved, and extend the same improved discounts to government purchasers, which it failed to do.

The contract  was in place from 2007 to 2012 and involved hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. 

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Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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