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Florida Whistleblower Lawyers > Blog > Government Program Fraud > Private Bus Company Agrees To Pay $20 Million To Settle False Claims Act Lawsuit

Private Bus Company Agrees To Pay $20 Million To Settle False Claims Act Lawsuit

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On February 11th, 2022, the New Jersey Office of Attorney General announced that Academy Bus, LLC, a transportation company that provides services through the East Coast, agreed to pay more than $20 million to resolve a False Claims Act lawsuit. Notably, the underlying allegations of government fraud were initially raised by a whistleblower. The whistleblower is receiving a significant share of the financial recovery. Here, our Florida government program fraud lawyer provides a more detailed overview of the case.

Allegations: Academy Bus Billed State of New Jersey for Trips that Never Occurred 

The settlement reached by Academy Bus, LLC is reportedly the largest False Claims Act payout outside of the health care industry in the history of the State of New Jersey. The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General intervened in (took over) a False Claims Act whistleblower lawsuit late in 2020. The lawsuit alleges that Academy Bus, which has a contract with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, engaged in government program fraud between 2012 and 2018.

During the relevant period of review, Academy Bus, LLC operated seven bus lines in North Jersey. It billed that state for 175,000 separate bus trips between 2012 and 2018. In total, the private company collected approximately $12 million from the state each year. Payments were based, in part, on the number of bus trips that were provided. However, the whistleblower lawsuit alleged that a number of the bus trips that were billed never actually took place.

Notably, the False Claims Act whistleblower lawsuit alleged that Academy Bus, LLC kept two separate sets of internal records. On one set of records, the company listed the trips that were billed to the State of New Jersey. On the other set of internal records, the company listed the trips that actually occurred. The private transportation company will now pay more than $20 million to resolve the allegations of state government program fraud. 

Whistleblowers Help Stop Fraud Against State and Federal Programs 

Fraud against government programs remains a very serious problem, both at the state level and the federal level. The federal False Claims Act exists to empower individuals to take action to stop government program fraud. Many states, including Florida and New Jersey, have their own version of the False Claims Act as well.

It is often whistleblowers—employees or other parties with insider knowledge—who can help authorities stop government program fraud. In this case, the government fraud committed by the private bus company against the New Jersey Department of Transportation was brought to light by a whistleblower. The whistleblower received more than $3 million in compensation.

Schedule a Free, Confidential Consultation With a False Claims Act Attorney

At Guttman, Freidin & Celler, our Florida whistleblower lawyers are strong, aggressive advocates for the rights of our clients. We have extensive experience representing whistleblowers in both federal and state False Claims Act proceedings. Contact us today for a free, fully private review of your case. With a main office in Miami, we provide statewide and nationwide whistleblower representation.

Resource:

fraudfighters.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Acting-AG-Bruck-Announces-20.5-Million…pdf

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