Sure, office supplies aren’t nearly as sexy or controversial as Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor Stealth fighter. Who hasn’t dreamed of being in the cockpit of a F-22 when our boss is trying to take away our stapler? Unfortunately office supply companies are not immune to the temptations of defrauding the government. The Florida Attorney General recently announced that Office Depot has entered into a $4.5 million agreement to settle allegations that the office supply behemoth overcharged Florida governmental agencies and consumers in violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act. The settlement will be paid in the form of refunds to both the State of Florida as well as customers.
According to the Florida AG’s office, here is the activity in which Office Depot engaged, prompting the investigation:
Bait and switch overcharging of state and local agencies by setting low fixed price for core items and then publishing catalog and website information that leads purchasing agents from low cost items to much higher priced alternative items.
Just as we rely on our defense contractors to provide the F-22s our tax dollars pay for, so de we rely on office supply companies to provide the staplers we contract for at the agreed price. It takes the efforts of both law enforcement as well as citizens to hold fraudsters accountable. For example, a former Lockheed employee filed a lawsuit against his former employer alleging that it knowingly used defective materials in constructing the F-22’s skin.
The point of all this is that fraud can occur whether you’re talking the mundane (staplers) or the extraordinary (radar-evading jets). Fraud is fraud!
This article is brought to you by the QTT, the epicenter for whistleblowers and people interested in the False Claims Act, Qui Tam Provisions, and Medicare and Medicaid fraud. To discuss a potential case, please call Eric Young at 1 (800) 590-4116.