Report: Google to Pay $500 Million Settlement in DOJ Investigation

Sold ads to illegal online pharmacies

In one of the largest-ever government penalties, Google will pay $500 million to settle charges that it illegally showed ads for online pharmacies that broke federal criminal law, sources told the New York Times.

This past spring, after Google revealed in a SEC filing that it had put aside $500 million, rumors immediately sprang up that the sum would be used to settle a Department of Justice investigation into the company’s advertising practices—namely, allegations that Google made hundreds of millions of dollars by accepting ads from pharmacies in the U.S. and Canada illegally selling prescription drugs online.

The DOJ was also investigating whether Google was aware of its advertisers’ activities, and whether company executives were knowingly turning a blind eye to their illegal conduct.

The announcement is expected to come later today in a press conference held by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Rhode Island, which has led the investigation.