Florida False Enrollment Fraud Lawyer
While the core objective of Florida universities, colleges, and other secondary education institutions is providing a solid education, these schools must also focus on profits. To stay in business, they often rely on the funds they receive through Federal Student Aid programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). These programs distribute more than $150 billion every year in financial assistance, which is generated by taxpayer dollars and paid to schools based on student enrollment.
Unfortunately, some institutions abuse the process and submit false records on enrollment to maximize their payments. This misconduct may constitute federal student aid fraud, and the government is willing to pay if you have information on unlawful practices. Our team at Guttman, Freidin & Celler can explain your options under the Federal False Claims Act (FCA) in more detail, so please contact us to set up a no-cost case review. A Florida education fraud attorney can provide details, but an overview may also be useful.
Falsified Enrollment is Fraud
To defraud is to use wrongful deception for purposes of financial gain. Knowing that some forms of federal student aid are based upon enrollment, an institution could qualify for higher amounts when there are more students on the books. These scams often involve fraud rings that:
- Report students who are not actually attending classes;
- Exploit distance learning and online education programs, where it would be difficult to track misconduct;
- Recruit students who do not qualify, leading to poor performance and drop-outs;
- Report straw students and put their financial aid accounts on hold;
- Operate as small community colleges, so enrollment numbers do not raise suspicion; or
- Engage in identity theft and use someone’s personal information to apply for federal student aid.
Note that federal aid continues to be paid to the institution or through the fraud ring when officials do not detect false enrollment.
Compensation for Whistleblowers
If you have knowledge about false enrollment fraud or other federal financial aid schemes, you could qualify to take legal action to recover these funds on behalf of the government. Cases under the FCA are called qui tam actions, in which you expose a fraudulent scam by suing the defendant for damages. As the plaintiff or relator, you are entitled to a share of the damages as compensation for your knowledge and efforts.
The amount you receive depends upon whether the US government exercises its right to join the lawsuit. If officials do intervene, you could obtain 15 to 25 percent of the award. When you move forward as the sole qui tam relator, you might recover up to 30 percent.
Speak to a South Florida Education Fraud Lawyer Right Away
If you have concerns about questionable student aid practices and want to know more about your options under FCA, please call Guttman, Freidin & Celler. You can call our Miami, FL office at 800.654.8281 or online to schedule a free consultation. Once we learn more about your situation, we can explain qui tam remedies.