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August 15, 2022

Flight instruction company Universal Helicopters Inc. will pay $7 million, and Dodge City Community College will pay $500,000, to resolve claims that the defendants made false statements to the VA in order to receive funding through the Post-9/11 GI Bill program for training programs they jointly ran.  Specifically, the defendants were alleged to have falsely certified that no more than 85 percent of the students in helicopter flight instructor programs were receiving VA benefits.  The government’s investigation was initiated by a whistleblower suit brought under the False Claims Act by a veteran and former student in the program, William Rowe.  Rowe will receive $1.125 million of the settlement.  DOJ

August 11, 2022

Menswear company Luchiano Visconti Loutie LLC d/b/a Luchiano Visconti and its manager Sasha Hourizadeh will pay $3.64 million for violating the False Claims Act by underreporting the value of imported apparel, resulting in over $1.8 million in evaded customs duties. Visconti and Hourizadeh regularly provided falsified invoices to customs brokers that significantly understated the true value of the imported menswear. In some instances, a complicit foreign manufacturer would provide Visconti two sets of invoices—one reflecting itemized pricing details at a reduction, and the second reflecting “services” provided which, when combined, reflected the actual value of the goods. A related whistleblower suit was filed prior to the Government joining the matter. USAO SDNY

August 11, 2022

Industrial battery maker Eos Energy Storage LLC will pay $1.02 million, after a whistleblower filed suit alleging violations of the False Claims Act. From mid-2018 to mid-2019, Eos failed to declare the value of certain components shipped overseas to be assembled and then imported back into the United States. Eos also failed to declare transportation and packing costs on more than 60 occasions, which Eos further acknowledged was their responsibility as importer of record. The whistleblower will receive 20% of the settlement amount. USAO NJ

August 3, 2022

William Richard “Rick” Carter, Jr. will spend 66 months in prison and pay over $1.3 million in restitution for his scheme to defraud the Alabama State Department of Education, in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Carter and his co-conspirators fraudulently enrolled students in public virtual schools to receive payments from Alabama’s Education Trust Fund, and then took portions of the money for their own use through direct cash payments and payments to third-party contractors owned by the various co-conspirators—William L. (“Trey”) Holladay, III, Gregory (“Greg”) Earl Corkren, David Webb Tutt, and Thomas Michael SiskUSAO MDAL

August 2, 2022

Denver Public Schools paid over $2.1 million to resolve a False Claims Act investigation into its misuse of AmeriCorps funds. AmeriCorps funds are used to address critical community needs such as fighting poverty, mentoring youth, and increasing academic achievement. To that end, AmeriCorps provides education awards to their volunteers a/k/a “members” for performing a specified number of service hours in these communities. DPS recruited their existing employees for AmeriCorps programs and double-counted hours spent on their employment duties as being on service, which is disallowed as it deprives the students of the net benefit of the additional support they would have received from non-DPS-employed AmeriCorps members. USAO CO

April 15, 2022

Caribbean Saint James School of Medicine a/k/a Human Resource Development Services, Inc., and its operator Kaushik Guha will pay $1.2 million in refunds to students who were lured by exaggerated promises of future success. For a period spanning at least 4 years, the defendants misrepresented their students’ medical license exam pass rate and misrepresented their residency match rate, stating that theirs was equal American schools’ match rate. Defendants violated the FTC’s Holder Rule, which requires specific notice to credit-holding consumers informing them of their right to assert claims, and also failed to provide a CPR disclosure in their credit agreements. FTC

April 11, 2022

Six California-based companies that conspired with a Chinese billionaire to defraud U.S. Customs and Border Protection and investors worldwide have been ordered to pay $1.83 billion in restitution.  A federal jury found that Perfectus Aluminum Inc., Perfectus Aluminum Acquisitions LLC, Scuderia Development LLC, 1001 Doubleday LLC, Von Karman – Main Street LLC, and 10681 Production Avenue LLC skirted the U.S.’s anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) on certain types of extruded aluminum imported from China by disguising them as functional pallets.  USAO CDCA

March 7, 2022

Ashford University, an online, for-profit school, and its parent company, Zovio, Inc., have been ordered to pay $22.37 million in penalties after a California court ruled in favor of the state attorney general’s office by finding that they presented false and misleading information to students to encourage them to enroll.  The lawsuit had alleged that Ashford’s promises about career outcomes, cost and financial aid, and ability to transfer credits caused many students to be saddled with debt and nothing to show for it.  CA AG

February 11, 2022

Defendants Seyed Taher Kameli and his companies, Chicagoland Foreign Investment Group, LLC and American Enterprise Pioneers, Inc., will pay jointly and severally $1.6 million after entering into a judgment for defrauding EB-5 immigrant investors. Kameli is an immigration attorney, some of whose clients were victims of the fraud. He promised at least 226 foreign investors that their $500,000 investments would finance construction of a senior living project and pave the way for at least 10 permanent full-time jobs, as well as qualifying each investor for a path to permanent U.S. residency. Instead, he commingled and misused some of the $88.7 million raised. Defendants are enjoined from further violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Kameli also agreed administratively to a 5-year suspension from practicing before the SEC as an attorney. SEC

January 14, 2022

Conduent Education Services LLC, f/k/a Xerox Education Services LLC, d/b/a ACS Education Services LLC (CES)—a contractor that serviced student loans for lenders—has agreed to pay $7.9 million to resolve allegations of submitting or causing the submission of false claims to the Department of Education (DOE) between 2006 and 2016.  In violation of Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program rules and the False Claims Act, CES allegedly failed to accurately report required data on the impact of monthly student loan repayments, principal capitalization, and other changes to DOE.  Under a prior remediation plan, CES paid DOE $1.4 million to partially resolve its liability, which it received credit for in the current settlement.  DOJ
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