The Justice Department announced today that the United States has filed a complaint under the False Claims Act (FCA) against NH Learning Solutions Corp (NHLS). The complaint, filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, alleges that NHLS violated the FCA by knowingly submitting false claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for inflated tuition benefits under the Post-9/11 GI-Bill. Michigan-based NHLS provides technology education courses at approximately 15 locations in the Midwest and Northeast.
“The Post-9/11 GI Bill is an important part of our promise to support our nation’s veterans,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Today’s complaint demonstrates our commitment to hold accountable companies that improperly seek to profit from this promise and the women and men who have served our country.”
“The U.S. government provides veterans with access to programs for higher education through the Post-9/11 GI Bill,” said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison for the Eastern District of Michigan. “Our office is prepared to pursue those who flout the rules that safeguard the integrity of important veterans’ programs.”
Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays tuition and fees directly to qualifying schools on behalf of enrolled students. The VA pays the actual net cost for tuition and fees charged by the school after it has applied any scholarships, waivers, grants or other assistance designed to defray the cost of tuition and fees. This requirement is commonly referred to as the “Last Payer Rule,” and ensures that the VA is the payer of last resort and receives the benefit of any tuition-based, financial support available to a student.
The government’s complaint alleges that NHLS knowingly submitted false claims for inflated tuition and fees in violation of the Last Payer Rule at five of its school locations in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. More specifically, the complaint alleges that NHLS repeatedly reported tuition and fees to the VA on student invoices where it failed to deduct the tuition scholarships, grants or waivers it provided to certain veterans, thereby causing the VA to overpay NHLS for educational assistance benefits under the Post-9/11 GI-Bill for these veterans.
“Safeguarding Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit funds is a top priority,” said Special Agent in Charge Gregory Billingsley of Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG)’s Central Field Office. “The VA-OIG is committed to investigating allegations of fraud that would impact VA’s programs and services.”
The lawsuit is captioned United States v. NH Learning Solutions Corp., No. 22-cv-13045 (E.D. Mich.), and is being handled by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch (Fraud Section) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. The Department of VA-OIG provided substantial assistance in the investigation.
The United States is represented in this matter by Senior Trial Counsel Christopher Wilson of the Civil Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Spaccarotella for the Eastern District of Michigan.
The claims asserted against defendants are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.
Source : JusticeNews