Leo Burnett Chicago has agreed to pay the $15.5 million to settle allegations that the company submitted false claims to the U.S. Army, DOJ announced. The firm had a contract from 2000 to 2005 with the Army to provide ad services for recruiting.
The settlement resolves allegations that Leo Burnett improperly billed the Army while developing the recruiting website and for advertising under the "Army of One" multimedia advertising campaign. Leo Burnett will make a cash payment of $12.1 million and credit the Army $3.4 million in work performed, but not billed.
"The Justice Department is committed to vigorously pursuing all those who knowingly submit false claims with respect to military contracts," said Gregory G. Katsas, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division.
The settlement resolves the lawsuit filed on behalf of the U.S. government by former Leo Burnett employees, Greg Hamilton and Michele Casey, who received $2,790,000 as their share of the recovery in the case. Under the False Claims Act, private citizens can bring suit on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery obtained by the government.
The litigation and settlement of this case were conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois and the Justice Department’s Civil Division.