Adobe Inc. has agreed to pay US$3 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations that it made payments in violation of the Anti-Kickback Act in return for influence over the sale of Adobe software to the U.S. federal government.
“Those who do business with the government are prohibited from paying kickbacks, which can result in unnecessary purchases and increase costs to taxpayers,” said principal deputy assistant attorney general Brian Boynton, head of the U.S. Justice Department’s civil division. “We will continue to use all appropriate tools to safeguard the integrity of the federal procurement process.”
According to a release issued by the department, the settlement announced yesterday “resolves allegations that Adobe made improper payments under its Solution Partner program to companies that had a contractual or other relationship with the government that allowed them to influence federal purchases of Adobe software.
“Between January 2011 and December 2020, Adobe allegedly paid the companies a percentage of the purchase price of the software. The United States contends that these payments constituted prohibited kickbacks that resulted in Adobe causing false claims for payment to be submitted to federal agencies.”
Matthew Greaves, a U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, stated in the release that “a fair market relies heavily on an even playing field. When a company, vendor, or business owner tips the scales to their advantage, it undermines the system. When government dollars are involved, it means taxpayers ultimately bear the burden. Whistleblowers – like those in this case – are to be commended for trying to return the playing field to level.”
In this case, the civil settlement includes the resolution of claims brought under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Alan Dowless, Barbara Evans, and Carrie Whalen, all of whom are former Adobe managers.
“Under those provisions, a private party can file an action on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of any recovery. As part of this resolution, Dowless, Evans, and Whalen will receive US$555,000.”
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