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W.W. Grainger pays $70 million settlement

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- National hardware distributor W.W. Grainger Inc. has agreed to pay $70 million to settle allegations it didn't meet federal contracts.

The Department of Justice announced the settlement Wednesday with Lake Forest, Ill.-based W.W. Grainger. Federal officials say the company submitted false claims under contracts with the General Services Administration and the U.S. Postal Service. Officials say government customers paid higher prices than they should have paid.

Federal prosecutors say the discrepancies were discovered during an audit of Grainger after the company received government contracts.