Florida Admission Fraud Lawyer
Education costs have soared in recent years, ranging from $18,000 to more than $47,000 annually according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Still, high enrollment rates indicate that students are willing to invest in their future. Knowing they will receive a quality education backed by a valuable degree or other credentials, many will pursue federal student aid. Problems enter the picture when the institution receiving the funds does not fully disclose information about student records and achievements. Omissions and misrepresentations may amount to admissions fraud, and taxpayers are hit the hardest.
To counteract fraud against the federal government during the Civil War, lawmakers enacted the Federal False Claims Act (FCA). The law is every bit as important today for combatting misconduct in the higher learning admissions process, especially since anyone with knowledge about fraud may be entitled to a share of the recovered damages. Please contact Guttman, Freidin & Celler to set up a free case assessment with a Florida education fraud lawyer, and read on for an overview of the laws.
Summary of Unlawful Admissions Schemes
The basic definition of fraud is making false or misleading statements to gain a financial advantage or something of value, but admissions scams involve very specific types of fraud. An institution that receives federal student aid funding is required to comply with regulations regarding admissions and academic records, but some organizations engage in such fraudulent acts as:
- Falsifying student records and achievements;
- Waiving admissions requirements for unqualified students;
- Helping students cheat on admissions exams;
- Forging federal student aid applications;
- Creating bogus high school diplomas to ensure students meet entrance requirements;
- Referring applicants to online sources to purchase fake high school diplomas or similar credentials;
- Engaging coaches and administrators to label students as athletes or members of a minority group to gain admission; and
- Any other scheme that enables a school to receive federal student aid based upon admissions data.
How FCA Works
The federal statute is a whistleblower law, which incentivizes individuals to come forward if they have information regarding fraudulent acts. FCA establishes a cause of action for qui tam, where the plaintiff sues the defendant institution on behalf of the US government. Initially, the government will have the opportunity to intervene and pursue its own remedies. If it does not, you will proceed as the sole qui tam plaintiff, termed a “relator.”
In a successful case where the government intervenes, you may be entitled to 15 to 25 percent of the award if the defendant is found liable for admissions fraud. A sole qui tam plaintiff could receive up to 30 percent of the total amount recovered. These cases often reach into the millions, strong motivation for relators to expose admissions fraud.
Contact a South Florida Education Fraud Attorney Today
To learn more about your options as a qui tam plaintiff, please call 800.654.8281 or online to reach the Miami, FL offices of Guttman, Freidin & Celler. We can schedule a complimentary consultation to review your circumstances and discuss how to proceed with an FCA admission fraud case.