August 13, 2014 — The federal and state governments do not have the resources to uncover every fraudulent scheme devised by unscrupulous government contractors. But inside employees, like those who blow the whistle in many False Claims Act lawsuits, frequently are the first to learn about False Claims Act violations. Under the qui tam provisions of the federal statute, tipsters who notify the government by filing a lawsuit may be rewarded with a significant portion of the government’s recovery.
Maker Of Norton Antivirus Software Allegedly Overcharged Federal And State Governments By Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars, Whistleblower Lawsuit Claims
The U.S. Department of Justice has decided to intervene in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging False Claims Act violations against Symantec Corp., the software maker of Norton Antivirus, VeriSign and Veritas. Symantec allegedly breached its contract with the General Services Administration (GSA) by feeding the government inaccurate and incomplete information about its pricing for commercial customers, which resulted in the company’s overcharging the taxpayers by hundreds of millions of dollars.
The whistleblower in the lawsuit is Lori Morsell, a Symantec employee who filed suit in 2012, claiming that Symantec filed false claims with the federal government and with the states of California, Florida and New York. Under Symantec’s government contract, effective from 2007 to 2012, the software maker was required to provide the government with its best pricing. The lawsuit alleges that Symantec actually offered its commercial customers deep discounts that were not disclosed or made available to its public sector customers.
In its annual 10-K filed in May with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Symantec reportedly disclosed that the government’s estimated damages could reach $145 million. Symantec denies that it has done anything wrong. When the Justice Department decides to intervene in a False Claims Act lawsuit, which is just 20 to 25 percent of the time, its success rate is about 95 percent.
False Claims Act Lawsuits Redress Abuse
While Waters & Kraus is not handling this particular case, we are representing whistleblowers in California and other states in similar lawsuits. If you have similar claims against a different government contractor, contact us by email or call our qui tam attorneys at 855.784.0268 to learn more about our practice and how we can work together to notify the government about fraud and abuse. Our qui tam lawyers, like Michael Armitage and Gary Paul in the firm’s California office, are committed to safeguarding informants’ interests in whistleblower lawsuits.