Take caution when you try to screw with government HR. It could cost you $6.5 million.
This is what happened to Taleo Corp., the huge staffing management solutions software company in Dublin, CA, when they allegedly overcharged the Transportation Security Administration for human resources services.
According to Media Newswire, in 2002 Taleo was hired to provide supporting software by subcontracting with CPS Human Resource Services, which in turn was contracting with TSA.
CPS is an HR service provider to the public sector. Mistake #1.
News reports said that Taleo bypassed the commercial list rate in their subcontract, which bases the cost on a client’s actual number of employees. Instead, they highballed the TSA. Mistake #2.
TSA just happens to be a subset of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Three strikes, you’re out.
According to the Media Newswire press release, a former Taleo employee acted as a whistleblower and reported the software company under the False Claims Act, which seeks out fraudulent actions and lets private individuals who file a lawsuit get a piece of the pie.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald C. Machen Jr. told the press, “This settlement demonstrates our office’s continued commitment to target companies that ‘pad’ their prices in an attempt to ‘pad’ their pockets.”
Taleo settled by agreeing to pay the government $6.5 million for false claims. A spokeswoman was quoted as saying Taleo didn’t admit to anything, but simply wanted to avoid lengthy litigation.