The American division of Samsung (Samsung Electronics America Inc.) has agreed to pay the U.S. government $2.3 million to settle allegations that the company violated trade agreements by lying about where Samsung products purchased under government contracts were manufactured. The settlement resolves whistleblower allegations filed by former Samsung employee Robert Simmons. At this time, it is unclear what Simmons’ share of the recovered money will be.
The terms of Government Service Administration (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts require that any products purchased should be either manufactured in the United States or a country that the U.S. has a trade agreement with. According to the Justice Department, Samsung provided the government with “inaccurate information” when federal agencies purchased Samsung products thought to be made in countries like South Korea or Mexico. In fact, the products were made in China, a country not part of a trade agreement.
“It is unacceptable to sell unauthorized foreign electronics to the United States,” said GSA Acting Inspector General Robert C. Erickson. “We expect all companies doing business with the federal government to comply with contracting laws.”
Tuesday’s settlement was reached due to the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Justice Department’s Civil Division and the Government Service Administration’s Office of Inspector General.
The case is United States ex rel. Simmons v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc. et al., No. AW-11-2971 (D. Md.)