OfficeMax, Inc. has agreed to pay the United States $9.8 million in settlement of a False Claims Act case alleging that it sold federal agencies office supply products manufactured in countries not permitted by the Trade Agreements Act. The company was required under its contract with the General Services Administration (GSA) to prevent such items from being offered for sale to U.S. government agencies.
The case was filed under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allow private parties who discover fraud against the government to file an action on behalf of the United States and to receive a portion of the settlement or recovery. The whistleblowers in this suit will receive $1.47 million.
The Dept. of Justice issued a press release on May 19, 2005.