The Department of Justice is collecting a $98.5 million settlement from Oracle, after PeopleSoft was found guilty of hiking up its prices for government contracts from 1997 until 2005. Whistleblower James A. Hicks, a former PeopleSoft employee, will get $17.73 million for his role in outing his company.
The lawsuit alleged that PeopleSoft failed to disclose the true nature of its multiple product discounting practice, a program that afforded buyers incrementally steeper discounts off list prices or software products based on the number of products purchased at one time. As a result, says the DOJ, the government overpaid for software and related maintenance.
GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller joined the government dog pile. “GSA’s MAS contracting program “ñ with sales of well over $30 billion in the last fiscal year “ñ depends on vendors’ honesty in negotiations.
“PeopleSoft misled and overcharged the government for years. Without the auditors’ specialized training and years of experience examining federal contracting arrangements, the wool would have remained over everyone’s eyes and the taxpayers might have again taken a fleecing.
The case was filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Hicks in the US District Court for the District of Maryland. Under the whistleblowers provisions, private citizens known as relators can sue on behalf of the government to recover federal funds that were obtained by false or fraudulent claims, and receive a portion of the proceeds.
Source: Department of Justice Release