The US Department of Justice (DoJ) will extract $5.9m from an American tech reseller accused of overcharging Uncle Sam's scientists.
The DoJ said Technology Integration Group (TIG), aka PC Specialists Inc, snapped up Dell PCs, and then resold them at a much-inflated price to the US government's Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.
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The DOJ alleged that TIG resold computers to Sandia without applying credits and discounts it received from Dell as a government buyer, inflating its own profits and overcharging the government – and the taxpayer – in the process.
The alleged gouging took place from 2003 to 2013, when TIG did business with Sandia labs through its San Diego headquarters. The company sold computers to boffins through the National Nuclear Security Administration.
TIG was turned in to the DoJ by a former executive, the excellently named Maverick Granger. He will receive a to-be-determined share of the fine for acting as a whistleblower on the overcharging.
Granger, on behalf of the government, filed a lawsuit against TIG alleging violations of the US False Claims Act [PDF].
As well as agreeing to cough up $5.9m, TIG promised to also fire three employees who conspired to overcharge the government. Those employees, who were not named, include a vice president, a senior account executive, and an account executive.
Provided TIG pays the fine, sacks the aforementioned staffers, and retains an outside monitor to scrutinize it, the US government will not file charges against the biz. TIG maintains it has done nothing wrong.
"The resources available to achieve the important goals carried out by our national laboratories are precious and limited," said Benjamin C. Mizer, principal deputy assistant attorney general and head of the Justice Department’s civil division.
"Today’s settlement demonstrates that diverting funds from the critical mission of the laboratories by inflating costs and making false claims or causing others to make false claims for government funds will not be tolerated."
Jim Brosnahan, a lawyer in San Francisco for TIG, told Channel Register this was essentially "a contract dispute involving the interpretation of pricing," adding that government officials in Washington DC had been "heavy handed" with TIG.
"TIG has never done anything wrong, it is a very good company, and they are glad to put this behind them. After the investigation, no criminal case was brought," Brosnahan added. ®