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Tech Supplier Pays $5.66 Million to Settle Claims of Overbilling, Trade Violations

A big technology distributor will pay $5.66 million to settle a whistleblower’s claims that it overbilled and underpaid the U.S. government — and also sold it Chinese-made products, in violation of federal trade law.

CDW-Government LLC (CDW-G) denied wrongdoing, saying it settled only to avoid a drawn-out lawsuit.

Joe Liotine, a former CDW-G sales rep, will receive at least $1.34 million for his role in the case; the remainder goes to the government. Mr. Liotine sued CDW-G in 2005 under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act (FCA), which allows private parties to sue on behalf of the United States for fraudulent use of government funds, and to share in any recovery.

Mr. Liotine had alleged that CDW-G had improperly charged the U.S. for shipping; had mischaracterized sales in order to duck certain fees; and had sold the government equipment made in China and other countries barred by the Trade Agreements Act.

While CDW-G will reimburse the U.S. for the amount it billed, the government gets to keep the equipment.

The Employment Law Group® law firm’s whistleblower attorneys have helped many clients file suit against employers that fraudulently bill the U.S. government, and have established favorable precedents under the retaliation provision of the False Claims Act.

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