Florida Federal Student Aid Fraud Lawyer
For many Floridians aspiring to earn a college degree, federal student aid is an essential resource for paying tuition and certain living expenses. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) provides multiple options for aid through loans, grants, and other options, amounting to more than $150 billion in funds every year. Unfortunately, some institutions exploit federal student aid programs through various forms of manipulation. This misconduct cheats taxpayers when it amounts to education fraud, so the federal government has established a strategy for recovering misappropriated funds.
Anyone with knowledge about student aid fraud could play a role in this strategy, and you might be entitled to compensation for your efforts. The Federal False Claims Act (FCA) allows you to seek damages on behalf of the DOE, and our attorneys at Guttman, Freidin & Celler can advise you on the legal process. Please contact our office to set up a free consultation with a Florida education fraud lawyer, and read on for some basics on unlawful student aid practices.
Overview of Federal Student Aid Fraud
Any type of fraud involves the use of deceit to obtain something of value, and the opportunities for institutions to engage in misconduct are plentiful in the context of higher education. Though the U.S. government has enacted regulations regarding the legal requirements for federal student aid, some schemes can be difficult to detect.
There are numerous types of student loan fraud that violate student aid laws, including:
- Falsifying enrollment documents;
- Offering kick-backs or remuneration for student recruiters to hit enrollment quotas;
- Promoting false scholarships or student financial aid assistance;
- Misconduct in admissions, such as by enrolling unqualified students or waiving admissions requirements;
- Improper use of grant and research funds;
- Making false representations on accreditation requirements;
- Receiving federal funds but never opening, as in the case of charter schools; and
- Many more.
How FCA Incentivizes Whistleblowers
In short, the FCA operates to offer compensation in exchange for your information and effort. If you have details regarding student aid fraud, you may have standing to sue the defrauding institution as a qui tam plaintiff, also known as a relator. After filing, the government has the option of intervening to pursue the defendant for misappropriated funds. Depending on whether officials exercise this option:
- You could receive up to 30 percent of the total amount you recover from student loan fraud schemes; or
- You might qualify to obtain 15 to 25 percent of the recovery amount if the government intervenes to take over the case.
Keep in mind that the FCA authorizes triple the monetary damages for every instance of fraud committed by the defendant. Many cases reach into the millions recovered by the government, which are passed along to the relator.
Discuss Your Options with a South Florida Education Fraud Attorney
For more information on seeking your legal remedies as a qui tam relator, please call Guttman, Freidin & Celler at 800.654.8281 to reach our Miami, FL offices. We can schedule a no-cost case review with a student aid fraud lawyer who can explain your options and discuss strategy.