On December 3, 2020, the US DOJ announced that a Delaware ergonomic furniture maker, Workrite Ergonomics LLC and its parent, Knape & Vogt Manufacturing Co. (collectively, Workrite), agreed to pay $7.1 million to settle allegations under the False Claims Act that they “overcharged the federal government for office furniture under General Services Administration (GSA) contracts.”
An Acting Attorney General for the US Department of Justice said that businesses who work with the federal government are expected to submit appropriate bills for their services. Illegal bills cost the American taxpayer a fortune and aren’t fair to competitors who submit bills the reflect the fair market value of their services.
A GSA Inspector General confirmed that thought when he said, “American taxpayers deserve fair prices and accurate information from GSA contractors.” “I appreciate the hard work and dedication that led to this significant recovery.”
The settlement is just one of many that the US DOJ agrees to each year to settle claims brought under the False Claims Act for various types of fraud including financial fraud, healthcare fraud, and procurement fraud.
The False Claims Act settlement is based on a contract Workrite agreed to – to provide furniture for government entities – between 2009 and 2017 through the GSA’s “Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program.” This program “provides the government with a streamlined process to procure commonly used commercial goods and services.”
The allegations include complaints the Workrite failed to meet its contractual duties to give the GSA correct information about “its commercial sales practices during contract negotiations, and did not subsequently extend lower prices to government customers as required by the GSA contract’s price reduction clause. “
The whistleblower claim
The False Claim Act settlement was based on a lawsuit filed by a whistleblower, a former sales manager for Workrite. The False Claims Act authorizes that whistleblower receives a financial reward for disclosing fraud which leads to a settlement or a judgment. The amount of the award is generally between 10 and 25% of the recovery. In this case, the whistleblower received $1.27 million or about 18% of the settlement.
If you have a whistleblower claim, the experienced qui tam lawyers at the California Law Offices of Stephen A. Danz and Associates have the experience and resources to help you get justice. We’ve been fighting for whistleblowers for 40 years. To discuss your whistleblower case, please call us at 877-789-9707 or use our online contact form to make an appointment. Se Habla Espanol.