Whistleblowers have brought successful qui tam cases shining a light on fraud in numerous other types of government programs. If you believe that you have information regarding such fraud, you should consider contacting an experienced qui tam attorney to get advice. Here, we give just some examples of the types of other government programs that the False Claims Act covers.
Universities, non-profit organizations, hospitals, and start-up companies often depend on government-issued grants to conduct important research, perform much-needed public services, or develop new products. Applicants for federal grants are generally required to disclose the use of funds, what the intended projects will do, and the applicants’ qualifications to complete the projects.
Grant fraud that could result in liability under the False Claims Act includes:
- Failure to disclose all funding sources
- Falsifying application information
- Making false statements when administering grant money
- Overstating success of research to qualify for more funding
- Misrepresenting program details like income, use of funds, how they are to be used, and other statements
- Misrepresentation of an applicants’ qualifications for the grant
- If you have information about possible grant fraud, you may be able to blow the whistle by filing a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act.
Federally-Funded Student Loan Programs
Every year the Department of Education makes billions of dollars of loans available to students to help them pay for higher education at public, private non-profit, and private for-profit (also known as proprietary) schools. To qualify for these funds, however, both students and schools must satisfy specific eligibility requirements. Cases of student loan fraud often involve higher learning institutions making false statements to the Department of Education to meet these requirements. The following are typical fraudulent schemes employed by schools to enable otherwise ineligible students to qualify for federal student loans:
- Students without a high school diploma or GED can qualify for federal loans, grants, and campus-based aid if they pass an “ability to benefit” test, which is an independently administered test of basic math and English skills. Providing the answers to or falsifying the results of these tests are likely False Claims Act violations.
- Violating test administration rules requiring school officials to directly administer the tests rather than use independent test administrators or not following the test retakes rules.
- Assisting students in obtaining invalid high school diplomas from diploma mills.
- Falsifying student financial information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Educational institutions may also commit fraud by failing to abide by certain Department of Education regulations required to qualify and maintain federal student loan funds eligibility. Examples of such fraud, generating potential whistleblowing cases, include:
- Compensating employees based on their success in securing student enrollments.
- False reporting regarding student loan default rates.
- False reporting of student enrollment, graduation, and job placement data.
If you have information that an educational institution has committed one of these types of frauds, you may be able to blow the whistle by pursuing a qui tam lawsuit.
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) is a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture dedicated to insuring crops to promote economic and agricultural stability. If an individual or company commits insurance fraud against the FCIC, a whistleblower may be able to file a qui tam lawsuit to stop fraudulent claims and practices.
Individuals or companies may be committing crop insurance fraud if they:
- Claim payments from the FCIC by understating crop yields
- Make claims on crops not planted
- Conspire to fabricate crop losses to make insurance claims
- Purposely shift crops from non-insured land to insured land to make an insurance claim
- Crop insurance fraud can be very costly to the FCIC and, ultimately, the taxpayers who help fund the insurance programs. It is crucial for persons with knowledge of fraudulent insurance claims to report them or act as a qui tam whistleblower to stop such practices.
Do you want to blow the whistle on fraud committed on a government program other than the ones discussed on this page? Take a look at the News section of this website to see if we have helpful information or examples. Or, feel free to reach out to us directly for a confidential consultation about your case with one of our experienced qui tam attorneys.
Have more questions? See our frequently asked questions.