Florida False Scholarship & Financial Aid Assistance Lawyer
Scholarships and student aid are important resources for students considering secondary education through Florida colleges and universities. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that around 82 percent of students enrolled at different types of institutions do take advantage of their options, but many seek help in identifying funding opportunities. While there is nothing wrong with offering free information, federal law prohibits organizations from charging a fee for illegal services. Certain schemes may constitute false scholarship and financial aid assistance, a form of education fraud.
The U.S. government has strategies for recovering misappropriated funds, and one in particular could apply to you if you have information about fraud. The Federal False Claims Act (FCA) offers a financial incentive to expose misconduct, and these cases are our primary focus at Guttman, Freidin & Celler. To learn more, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. A Florida education fraud attorney can provide details, but an overview on FCA remedies for false scholarship and financial aid assistance may be helpful.
Fraud in Financial Aid for Students
The general definition of fraud is using false information to obtain something of value, but there are very specific factors involved when the misconduct is related to scholarships and student loans. Most of these scams start with the company promising to prepare a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and presenting the prospective student with qualifying options. However, it is free to research and apply for federal student aid programs. Unscrupulous companies will charge a fee for their services by claiming that they can:
- Provide information on private scholarships not available to others;
- Sell scholarships;
- Guarantee a grant;
- Offer a scholarship without any information from the applicant; or
- Make the applicant eligible for a federal student loan or scholarship by preparing the paperwork.
Whistleblower Compensation Under FCA
The US government would like to crack down on every instance of fraudulent scholarship and student aid assistance; FCA greatly expands its ability to do so by empowering private individuals to expose misconduct through a qui tam action. In exchange for your efforts, you may qualify for compensation when you file a lawsuit as a plaintiff or relator. Keep in mind that the defendant may have to pay triple the damages for every instance of fraud, making the total award sizable. An education fraud lawyer can explain in more detail, but the relator in a qui tam action for false scholarship and student aid assistance may be able to obtain:
- From 15 to 25 percent of the total award if the government steps in to join the lawsuit;
- Up to 30 percent of the sum if you move forward as the relator for purposes of FCA.
Consult with a South Florida Education Fraud Lawyer About Your Remedies
This overview may help cover the basics, but it is wise to rely on our team at Guttman, Freidin & Celler for assistance with a qui tam case. To learn how we can help, please call at 800.654.8281 or online to schedule a no-cost consultation at our Miami, FL offices.