Michigan firm sued over fraud in VA benefits program

by Ben Vernia | December 17th, 2022

On December 16, the Department of Justice announced that it had filed a civil suit against a Michigan-based company for defrauding the VA. According to DOJ’s press release:

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.

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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.  

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The case apparently arose from a government investigation, rather than a whistleblower’s qui tam suit.

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