On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida announced its decision to intervene in a whistleblower lawsuit filed against a now-defunct for-profit college, which is alleged to have violated numerous laws and regulations relating to the receipt of federal student funding.
The allegations in the case–captioned United States of America, State of Florida ex rel Juan Peña vs. FastTrain II Corp. d/b/a FastTrain College, and Alejandro Amor, Case No.: 1:12-cv-21431– include some truly headline grabbing claims, including that the college “used exotic dancers as admissions officers, falsified documents and coached students to lie on financial forms as it fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in federal money.” The FBI raided the school in 2012 when the allegations first surfaced. Not surprisingly, federal criminal counts have also been filed.
While most lawsuits under the False Claims Act do not involve such brazen violations, this case is a reminder that blatantly fraudulent activities will be caught and prosecuted and that the False Claims Act provides incentives to whistleblowers to expose such activities.