General Services Administration Fraud

The General Services Administration, or GSA, is a federal agency responsible for supplying goods and products to other federal agencies through contracts with commercial firms. The GSA negotiates contracts and purchases products in large quantities in order to save individual agencies time and resources. These contracts, in turn, must be in compliance with the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 to ensure the safety of the product and the secure relationship between the U.S. and the product’s country of origin. However, sometimes commercial suppliers attempt to sell products to the GSA that do not comply with these standards.

The Trade Agreements Act

The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (TAA) dictates trade agreements between the U.S. and other countries. Certain countries, called “designated countries,” are in compliance with the TAA and therefore the General Services Administration may enter into agreements with companies that purchase or supply goods and services from these countries. However, certain countries do not conform to the standards set out by the TAA. Therefore, the GSA is prohibited from entering into contracts that involve goods and services from non-compliant countries.

Failure to Comply with the Trade Agreements Act

Countries that do not comply with the conditions in the TAA are restricted from entering into certain contracts with the U.S. Countries that are not TAA-compliant include:

  • China
  • Taiwan
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand

These countries manufacture and export a large number of products commonly used throughout the U.S. However, since they are not in compliance with the TAA, the General Services Administration may not supply products from these countries to federal agencies. In some cases, though, certain companies attempt to fraud the GSA and supply them with products that do not meet the minimum federal standards.

The Trade Agreement Act was created in order to protect government employees from harm as well as to make sure that the products used by federal agencies are supplied by countries that agree to U.S. standards. If contractors attempt to sell non-compliant products to a government agency, they may be violating the False Claims Act, an Act designed to prevent false claims and fraud against the federal government. Everyday citizens who become aware of fraud can file a Qui Tam lawsuit on the government’s behalf to stop the wrongdoing. In response, the person who brings the suit may be eligible to receive a percentage of the total damages that are awarded in the case.