April 18, 2023. Adobe paid $3 million to the Department of Justice to resolve allegations that the company violated the Anti-Kickback Statute in selling software to the federal government. The allegations claimed that Adobe paid its Solution Partner vendors part of the purchase price of the software as remuneration for selling to the government. This unlawful practice is commonly known as paying kickbacks. Former managers at Adobe disclosed these illegal activities and filed a qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the government. The whistleblowers will receive $555,000 or approximately 18% of the government’s recovery from Adobe.
Similar to other software vendors, Adobe has a tiered “Solution Partner Program” for businesses that want to sell Adobe products. According to the allegations, over a period of nine years, Adobe paid members of its Solution Partner Program improper financial incentives for making sales to the federal government. Three former managers at Adobe brought this misconduct to the Department of Justice.
Whistleblowers are individuals who report wrongdoing within their organizations, often at great personal risk, to protect the public interest. Whistleblowers play an important role in detecting and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse in government contracts. The settlement with Adobe sends a clear message that the Department of Justice takes violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute very seriously and will take action against companies that engage in these illegal practices. It also serves as a reminder to other companies operating in the same industry that they need to be vigilant about ensuring that their business practices comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
The settlement with Adobe is a clear reminder that there are consequences for engaging in illegal practices and that the government will not tolerate companies that violate the law to gain an unfair advantage. As the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia said about this case, “A fair market relies heavily on an even playing field. 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.”
If you would like to report government procurement fraud or violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, you can contact attorneys at Tycko & Zavareei LLP. Eva Gunasekera and Renée Brooker are former officials of the United States Department of Justice and prosecuted whistleblower cases under the False Claims Act. Renée served as Assistant Director at the United States Department of Justice, the office that supervises False Claims Act cases in all 94 United States District Courts. Eva was the Senior Counsel for Health Care Fraud. Eva and Renée now represent whistleblowers. For a free consultation, you can contact Renée at [email protected] (tel.: 202-417-3664) or contact Eva Gunasekera at [email protected]. You can also go to Tycko & Zavareei LLP’s website for whistleblowers to learn more at https://www.fraudfighters.net/.