Leo Burnett agreed on Tuesday to pay the United States a whopping $15.5 million to settle a federal “whistleblower” civil lawsuit first filed under seal some 4½ years ago in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
The lawsuit alleged the ad agency submitted false billing claims to the U.S. Army for work performed on the lucrative Army ad account, which Burnett handled from 2000 through 2005. According to terms of the settlement, Burnett will make a cash payment to the U.S. government of $12.1 million and additionally credit the Army for $3.4 million in work the agency said it performed for — but did not bill to — the Army.
The agency admits no wrongdoing in the case. But that’s just people talking. Paying out $15.5 mil. says more than any combination of words ever will.