Adobe Inc. Agrees to Pay $3 Million to Settle Kickback Allegations Involving Federal Software Sales
Adobe Inc., originally called Adobe Systems Incorporated, is a well-known multinational computer software company that has historically specialized in software for the creation and publication of a wide range of content, including graphics, photography, illustration, animation, multimedia/video, motion pictures, and print. Recently, the company found itself in legal trouble, with allegations that it made payments in violation of the Anti-Kickback Act in return for influence over the sale of Adobe software to the federal government. In April 2023, it was announced that Adobe Inc. agreed to pay $3 million to resolve the situation under the False Claims Act.
More specifically, the settlement resolves allegations that Adobe made improper payments under its Solution Partner program to companies that had a contractual or other relationship with the government that allowed them to influence federal purchases of Adobe software. Between January 2011 and December 2020, Adobe allegedly paid the companies a percentage of the purchase price of the software. The United States contends that these payments constituted prohibited kickbacks that resulted in Adobe causing false claims for payment to be submitted to federal agencies.
The Department of Justice reported the news and included commentary on the situation:
“Those who do business with the government are prohibited from paying kickbacks, which can result in unnecessary purchases and increase costs to taxpayers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will continue to use all appropriate tools to safeguard the integrity of the federal procurement process.”
“A fair market relies heavily on an even playing field,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia. “When a company, vendor, or business owner tips the scales to their advantage, it undermines the system. When government dollars are involved, it means taxpayers ultimately bear the burden. Whistleblowers – like those in this case – are to be commended for trying to return the playing field to level.”
“The General Service Administration Office of the Inspector General (GSA-OIG) will continue working to protect taxpayer dollars and the integrity of federal contracting,” said Inspector General Carol F. Ochoa of the GSA. “I appreciate the hard work of the special agents, auditors, and attorneys on this case.”
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