Friday, May 20, 2005

OfficeMax Settles Civil False Claims Case

OfficeMax has settled a civil false claims action for $ 9.8 million.   According to a DOJ press release here, the settlement was for:

"allegations that it submitted false claims when it sold office supply products manufactured in countries not permitted by the Trade Agreements Act to United States government agencies, the Justice Department announced today. The settlement resolves allegations that the Itasca, Illinois-based company sold products from countries that do not have reciprocal trade agreements with the U.S., such as China. OfficeMax was required by its contract with the General Services Administration (GSA) to prevent such items from being offered for sale to U.S. government agencies."

The Trade Agreements Act states as its congressional purpose,

"(1) to approve and implement the trade agreements negotiated
    under the Trade Act of 1974 [19 U.S.C. 2101 et seq.];
  (2) to foster the growth and maintenance of an open world
    trading system;
  (3) to expand opportunities for the commerce of the United
    States in international trade; and
  (4) to improve the rules of international trade and to provide
    for the enforcement of such rules, and for other purposes."

This case arose as a qui tam whistleblower civil action, which means that private parties will benefit from this settlement. The DOJ press release notes that the company was cooperative in this investigation.


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