Whistleblower to receive $1.4 million settlement in qui tam lawsuit against office supplies company

by Heygood Orr and Pearson

A former sales representative with an Illinois office supplies company will receive nearly $1.4 million as part of a whistleblower lawsuit filed against the company. The award will come from a $5.66 million settlement paid by CDW-Government LLC to the federal government over allegations that the company made false claims to government purchasers during the sale of its products.

CDW-Government LLC, or CDW-G, is a private company that sells office supplies, information technology, equipment, and other products. The company had a government contract with the U.S. General Services Administration, which was the subject of the whistleblower lawsuit.

The charges against CDW-G made by the US Department of Justice came to light thanks to a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Joe Liotine, a former sales representative. Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers who file “qui tam” lawsuits against companies that commit fraud against the government are entitled to recover a portion of the damages or settlement in the case.

CDW-G was accused of numerous false claims and trade violations by the Justice Department. The company was alleged to have improperly charged the U.S. General Services Administration for shipping costs, sold products that were manufactured in countries that are not allowed under the Trade Agreements Act, and underreported sales in order to avoid paying certain government fees.