Computer and printer maker HP has agreed to pay a US$55 million settlement in a federal investigation into claims the company paid kickbacks in a scheme to get systems integrators to recommend its gear for government purchases. The settlement also wraps up an investigation into incomplete product pricing information HP provided government contracting officers.
“Contractors must deal fairly with the government when doing business with federal agencies,” commented Department of Justice Civil Division assistant attorney general Tony West. “As this case demonstrates, we will take action against those who seek to taint the government procurement process with illegal kickbacks.”
HP’s settlement was part of a larger DOJ investigation into companies giving and receiving kickbacks in government contracts. The investigation was launched in 2004 after two men filed a lawsuit against HP, Accenture and Sun over illegal rebates and payments, according to Macworld.
The settlement also closed an investigation into prices HP charged government agencies for computers and software.
HP landed the deal 2002, and in 2007 informed officials it may not have complied with all of the provisions of the contract. The company’s admission led to a federal investigation that ultimately determined HP overcharged government agencies.
HP claims it settled with the government in the best interests of shareholders, and denied participating in any illegal activities.