Adobe agreed to pay $3 million to settle allegations it paid kickbacks in an attempt to win more software purchase orders from the federal government.

Adobe gave improper payments to companies between January 2011 and December 2020 that had contracts with the federal government and were in position to influence the government to buy Adobe software, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in its settlement agreement published Thursday.

Adobe paid the companies a percentage of the purchase price of the software under its “Solution Partner” program, the DOJ alleged.

Kickbacks are illegal under the False Claims Act (FCA). The bills Adobe sent to the government for the software amounted to false claims, according to the DOJ.

Adobe neither denied nor admitted the agency’s allegations in reaching settlement.

About $1.6 million of the settlement amount is restitution, according to the agreement.

Three former Adobe managers—Alan Dowless, Barbara Evans, and Carrie Whalen—filed the original complaint against Adobe in 2017 in the District of Columbia under the qui tam provisions of the FCA. The three are entitled to a portion of the federal settlement amounting to $555,000.

“Those who do business with the government are prohibited from paying kickbacks, which can result in unnecessary purchases and increase costs to taxpayers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton, head of the DOJ’s Civil Division, in a press release. “We will continue to use all appropriate tools to safeguard the integrity of the federal procurement process.”

Adobe response: “We’ve cooperated with the government since it began its investigation in 2018, and there was no determination of liability by the DOJ nor is there an admission of liability by Adobe,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We value our relationships with the U.S. government and U.S. government customers and are pleased to settle this matter to avoid unnecessary litigation costs.”