Thursday, March 1, 2012

Is Sen. Snowe's husband the target of a qui tam case?

Originally filed in April 2007 by a pair of whistleblowers, the lawsuit alleges that the company violated a federal law that prohibits schools from paying admissions officers based on the number of students they recruit and enroll. Those numbers can affect a school’s revenues because more students mean a school is potentially eligible for more federal aid dollars. The whistleblowers alleged, and provided documents indicating, that they were paid bounties for the number of students they enrolled.
The Justice Department’s decision to intervene on Aug. 8 made the lawsuit, which had been under seal, public. In its complaint, Justice alleged that Education Management Corp. submitted “knowingly false, misrepresented, and/or improper certifications” to the Education Department, stating that it did not offer enrollment incentives to its admissions officers. Without those certifications, students enrolling at the the company’s schools, which include Argosy University, Brown Mackie College and South University, would not be eligible for federal financial aid. The complaint names Snowe’s husband, noting that in December 2006, while he was the company’s chief executive officer, McKernan personally signed certifications that Education Management Corp.’s schools complied with the ban on offering compensation to admissions officers based on the number of students they recruit.

Here is the qui tam complaint, to which the DoJ intervened.

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