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Accenture settles whistle-blower lawsuit for $63.7M

Posted On: Sep. 13, 2011 12:00 AM CST

WASHINGTON—Accenture L.L.P. has agreed to pay $63.7 million to resolve a whistle-blower lawsuit over the issue of false claims to federal agencies, the Justice Department said.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Little Rock, Ark., alleged that Accenture submitted, or caused to be submitted, false claims for payment under numerous contracts with federal agencies for information technology services.

The settlement is the latest involving the same two whistle-blowers.

“Accenture has agreed to resolve allegations that it received kickbacks for its recommendations of hardware and software to the government, fraudulently inflated prices and rigged bids in connection with federal information technology contracts,” the Justice Department said Monday in a statement.

The agency said the lawsuit was filed initially by Norman Rille and Neal Roberts under whistle-blower provisions of the False Claims Act, which permits private individuals to bring a suit on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds of a settlement or judgment awarded against a defendant. The lawsuit was filed in 2006 and the Justice Department intervened in the case in 2009.

The portion of the proceeds to be paid to the whistle-blowers in this case has not yet been resolved, according to the Justice Department.

Accenture issued a statement that said it and the Justice Department had agreed to settle the case “to avoid additional time, inconvenience and expense that would come with protracted litigation.” It said the agreement is not an admission of liability, and that it “continues to vigorously deny that there was any wrongdoing.”

Mr. Rille is a former Accenture employee and Mr. Roberts is a former employee of New York-based PriceWaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. The two men have filed several other whistle-blower lawsuits, including two against IBM Corp. and PwC.

In 2007, IBM agreed to pay $3 million and PwC agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle allegations that they had provided improper payments and other things of value on technology contracts with government agencies, according to the Justice Department.