Florida Grant & Research Fraud Lawyer
Most colleges and secondary education institutions receive funding from the federal government for research projects, and these grants make up a significant portion of the $150 billion the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) pays out for student aid every year. The government views this research as being crucial to the interests of innovation, infrastructure, health care, national security, and others, so it is willing to pay handsomely. Unfortunately, the process for accessing these funds is prone to grant and research fraud.
When higher learning institutions misappropriate grant funds or make false statements regarding federally funded research projects, anyone with knowledge about the fraud may have options under the Federal False Claims Act (FCA). You may qualify for a share of the funds recovered through a lawsuit, so please contact Guttman, Freidin & Celler to schedule a no-cost consultation regarding this unique legal remedy. A Florida education fraud attorney can explain the details, and a summary of FCA concepts may be helpful.
Grant and Research Fraud Overview
Institutions of higher learning rely on grants from the federal government to subsidize research projects, and the relationship creates a binding agreement that outlines the obligations of each party. The DOE supplies the funds, while administrators and faculty are tasked with making proper expenditures. Students who contribute to the projects benefit from the learning experience, while the U.S. as a whole benefits from the results of the research.
However, while it may be a grant the institution is not required to pay back, this is not free money by any means. By virtue of the agreement with the government, the school must comply with all regulations and policies set forth by statute, federal law, and the language of the contract itself. It may constitute grant and research fraud to make false statements in connection with:
- Applying for the grant;
- Accepting the funds for designated purposes;
- How the grant money is spent; and
- Reporting on the results of research.
Whistleblower Remedies Under FCA
Any scheme to defraud the government is a scam on taxpayers, and the FCA encompasses a powerful tool for recovering misappropriated funds. The statute provides for a whistleblower or qui tam lawsuit, in which a private citizen acts as the plaintiff to expose misconduct. The government shows its appreciation for your efforts by allowing you a share of the total amount recovered. If you have information related to grant and research fraud, you could obtain the following damages in a qui tam case:
- From 15 to 25 percent of the total award, if the US government exercises its right to join as a plaintiff; OR
- Up to 30 percent of the damages if you proceed with your case as a sole plaintiff.
Set Up a Free Consultation with a South Florida Education Fraud Lawyer
This overview of FCA is useful, but many additional details apply to grant and research fraud qui tam cases. You can trust our team at Guttman, Freidin & Celler to protect your interests as a relator, so please call 800.654.8281 or reach out to us via our website to schedule a complimentary case assessment at our Miami, FL offices.