Hewlett-Packard has agreed to pay the U.S. government $55 million to settle charges that it paid kickbacks to technology partners for recommending HP products to federal agencies.
This final agreement, announced Monday by the Department of Justice, follows a tentative settlement reached earlier this month in which HP agreed in principle to resolve the case. The settlement closes the book on the DOJ's allegations that HP defrauded the General Services Administration (GSA) and other government agencies by paying "influencer fees" to third-party vendors.
The case stretches back to 2004 when two whistleblowers--Norman Rille, then a senior manager with Accenture, and Neal Roberts, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers--filed a civil complaint alleging that HP had doled out kickbacks. The suit, which also included Sun Microsystems and Accenture, was launched under provisions of the False Claims Act (PDF) in which private citizens can file actions regarding fraud on behalf of the U.S. and share in any money recovered.
For more of this story, read HP to pay $55 million to settle kickback allegations on CNET News.