Home Depot Accused of Violating Buy American Act

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Staples Contract, Office Depot Among Those Reaching Settlements

In 1998, Invacare, an Ohio medical equipment that provided the U.S. government with wheelchairs and other parts, paid the United States a $2.6 million settlement after allegations the company did not charge a similar discounted rate to the Department of Veterans and sold products that were not America made.

In a statement released after the settlement, Invacare said "both parties agreed to a compromise resolution of the dispute rather than entering into expensive and protracted litigation."

In 2005, Staples Contract and Commercial, a division of Staples Inc. of Framingham, Mass., shelled out $7.4 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims when it sold office supply products manufactured in countries not permitted by the Trade Agreements Act to United States, accordingto the Department of Justice.

In 2005, Office Depot was the target of allegations that it sold goods from China and Taiwan or countries not permitted by the Trade Agreements Act. The office supply chain settled the claims by paying the United States $4.75 million.

In 2005, OfficeMAX paid a $9.72 million settlement after a suit filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act . The company allegedly sold products to the United States from countries not permitted under the Trade Agreements Act.

"This settlement is an example of the Department's determination to ensure that federal funds are protected from fraud and abuse," said Peter D. Keisler, then-Assistant Attorney General, in a statement. The OfficeMax and Office Depot suits were based on the same allegations as the Staples Contract and Commercial case.

In 2006, Corporate Express Office Products settled allegations of submitting false claims for selling products prohibited under the Trade Agreements Act to United States government agencies by paying $5.02 million.

In the settlement, Corporate Express denied the allegations, saying it had not made any false claims for payment under the contract and contended that the United States had no basis for the claim.

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