FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 1998
TDD (202) 514-1888
INVACARE CORP. TO PAY U.S. $2.6 MILLION
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An Elyria, Ohio medical equipment provider has agreed to pay $2.6 million to the United States to settle allegations that the corporation did not provide the same discounted rate to the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) as it provided other customers, and sold products that were not American-made, the Department of Justice announced today.
Assistant Attorney General Frank Hunger of the Civil Division said that the settlement agreement, filed September 23, follows an investigation by the DVA Office of Inspector General into charges that Invacare Corporation failed to disclose current, accurate and complete pricing data to the DVA relating to a 1990 contract for wheelchairs, parts and accessories. The DVA found that, prior to the award of the contract, Invacare offered discounts and other favorable terms and conditions to its commercial customers which were higher than the discounts disclosed to DVA negotiators. Federal law requires that contractors provide current, accurate and complete pricing data when negotiating with government agencies.
The DVA also found that Invacare provided the agency with some wheelchairs that were made in Mexico. The terms of the contract and the Buy America Act specifically required that American-made wheelchairs be provided.
The Justice Department said that Invacare's failure to provide current, accurate and complete pricing data and its failure to provide American-made wheelchairs violated both the Buy America Act and the False Claims Act. Under the False Claims Act, the government may recover up to three times the amount of the damages plus civil penalties from parties who knowingly submit false claims to the U.S.
The case was handled by the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, with the assistance of the DVA Office of Inspector General.