Cleaning product company to pay Mass. $1.9 million to settle overbilling allegations
A New Jersey company will pay $1.9 million to settle allegations that it overbilled state authorities for cleaning supplies, the Massachusetts attorney general announced Tuesday.
The settlement resolves allegations that Interline Brands violated state law when it sold products to the Massachusetts Port Authority and the state’s Executive Office for Administration and Finance’s Operational Services Division, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said in a statement.
“This company recklessly overbilled for cleaning products, costing the state hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Healey in the statement. “State vendors who cheat the public will be held accountable and we are glad to have recovered nearly $2 million from this company as part of our resolution.”
Messages left with Interline Brands were not immediately returned late Tuesday afternoon, but court documents indicate that the settlement does not “constitute an admission by Interline of any fact of non-compliance with any state or federal law, rule, or regulation.” The company has 10 business days to pay the settlement, according to court documents.
Authorities alleged the company violated state consumer law “by overcharging for janitorial supplies and submitting quarterly reports to [state officials] that misrepresented its pricing methodology.”
The state probe of the alleged overbilling began with a complaint to the Massachusetts Inspector General’’s Office.
“This $2 million settlement resulted from an individual literally walking in our front door with information about possible misconduct,” said Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha in a statement. “This is another example of our office working with the Attorney General to recover a significant amount of money for public entities that have been harmed financially.”
The settlement, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court, will require Interline to implement business practice changes to “address issues uncovered by the investigation.”
Under the settlement, Massport will receive $958,000, while entities that were overbilled under a different state contract will receive $22,000. The state’s inspector general’s office will receive $60,000 to defray costs from its investigation, with the remaining sum going to the state’s general fund, according to the statement from Healey’s office.