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Oracle settles whistleblower suit for $8 million

Federal suit alleged the database giant had submitted false payment claims for computer training to government agencies.

Oracle has paid $8 million to end a federal lawsuit that claimed the company had charged the government for computer training that was never provided, according to a statement issued Friday by the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston.

According to the statement, the database giant settled all of the civil claims brought against it in the whistleblower suit. The case was launched when a former vice president of the company's Oracle University training division contacted the government about what he said were potentially fraudulent billing practices.

The former staffer who provided the tip will be awarded $1.58 million of the overall payout, federal officials said.

Oracle representatives declined to comment on the settlement.

The lawsuit, which was unsealed late Thursday as part of the settlement agreement, alleged that Oracle submitted a number of false payment claims for computer training to various government agencies between 1997 and 2003. By failing to deliver on the services it charged for, which were awarded to the company as part of a contract with the General Services Administration, federal authorities claimed that Oracle had violated the government's False Claims Act.

Among the specific charges leveled in the suit were claims that Oracle prebilled the government for certain training that it never provided, in addition to failing to comply with travel regulations in billing the federal government for expenses. The government said that after the investigation was launched, Oracle halted the billing practices that had been questioned and amended its contract with the GSA in order to reflect those changes.

Among the groups involved in the investigation were the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, the GSA's Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.