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Sep 7, 2022 by |

Los Angeles Whistleblower Attorney: Training Company And Community College Agree To $7.5 Million Settlement OF False Claims Act Allegations Related To Post-9/11 GI Bill Funding

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Veteran And Former Student Brings Action

Defendants Accused Of False Certifications Of Student Mix

Former Student To Receive $1.125 Million Reward

Millions of Americans who served in the military have over the years have received money for further schooling from the “GI Bill”, which was expanded after 9/11.  Like any government programs there are compliance requirements for payments under the GI Bill, and also, like other government programs – an opportunity for fraud. Knowingly submitting false certifications of compliance with GI Bill regulations may violate the False Claims Act.  See False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq.  Individuals with knowledge of this kind of fraud, often employees or former employees of the offending contractor, may bring an action (called a “qui tam” case) on behalf of the government for the fraud perpetrated against the government. Rewards for the individuals (referred to as “relators”) bringing the actions can equal 15-30% of the amount recovered.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(d).  If you have credible information for a false claims whistleblower case on behalf of the federal government in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, call us today at (415)441-8669 and we can help. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Training Company And Community College Settle False Claims Allegations

In one recently settled case,[1] a private helicopter flight instructor training company, and a community college have agreed to pay $7.5 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by making false statements to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in connection with the helicopter flight instructor training program which the two institutions ran jointly. The VA provided financial assistance as part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to veterans taking classes at the two institutions’ helicopter flight instructor program. The United States alleged that from 2013 to 2018, defendants made or caused to be made false statements to the VA regarding enrollment in the UHI-DC3 helicopter flight instructor program in order to obtain VA funding. Defendants have agreed to pay $7,500,000 to settle these allegations.

As part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill program, the VA provides tuition and fee payments directly to qualifying schools on behalf of eligible veterans. To qualify for the program, among other things, a school is required to certify to the VA that no more than 85 percent of the students for any particular course are receiving VA benefits. This requirement, commonly referred to as the “85/15 Rule,” is intended to prevent abuse of Post-9/11 GI Bill funding by ensuring that the VA is paying fair market value tuition rates since at least 15 percent of the enrolled students would be paying the same rate with non-VA funds. The settlement resolves allegations that the defendants violated the 85/15 Rule by false certifications of the percentage on non-VA students.

Fundamentals Of A Qui Tam Case

The reported case was brought by a former student who will receive a $1.125 million reward.  Qui tam cases begin with filing a complaint in the federal district court where the allegedly fraudulent conduct occurred.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(b).  The complaint is filed under seal.  The government has sixty days to review the allegations and decide whether to intervene.  This review period can be extended.  If the government decides to intervene, the government essentially takes over the litigation.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(c).  If the government decides not to intervene, the relator has the right to continue the litigation on his or her own.  If the relator continues the litigation alone, he or she receive a larger percentage of the amount the government eventually recovers.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(d).  The relator may also pursue claims for wrongful retaliation against the defendant if the relator was fired or demoted as a result of blowing the whistle.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(h).

Contact Us

Ingrid M. Evans can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>.  Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).  In addition to whistleblower cases under the FCA, Ingrid handles bank fraud whistleblower cases under FIRREA/FIAFEA, commodity trading and securities fraud under the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Whistleblower Program and the Securities and Exchange Commission Whistleblower Program, and tax fraud under the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Program. 

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the reported case in any way. The qui tam case is captioned United States ex rel. Rowe v. Dodge City Community College, et al., No. 18-cv-01113-TC-GEB (D. Kan.).

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