FBI: United States and State of Florida File Complaint Against Defunct For-Profit College Chain and Its President for False Claims Act Violations

Career College Central Summary:

  • The United States and State of Florida have brought a civil complaint against FastTrain II Corp., a private, for-profit chain of schools that was based in Miami, Florida and was doing business as FastTrain College and Alejandro (Alex) Amor, 56, of Coral Gables, who was FastTrain’s owner, president and Chief Executive Officer. The case arises from false statements and claims that FastTrain and Amor presented to, or caused to be presented to, the United States and Florida, in violation of the federal False Claims Act, the Florida False Claims Act and common law.
  • Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General, Yessyka Santana, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s (ED OIG) Southeastern Regional Office, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement. On October 2, 2014, U.S. Attorney Ferrer announced that Amor and other individuals associated with FastTrain were charged in a fifteen count indictment with conspiracy to steal government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, and theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641.
  • At its peak, FastTrain operated seven Florida campuses in Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Duval counties. The governments’ complaint in the civil case alleges that from at least January 1, 2009 through June 22, 2012, when FastTrain closed, FastTrain and Amor knowingly submitted, or caused to be submitted, numerous false claims for payment to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) arising from their fraudulent course of conduct in order to participate in the federal student aid programs authorized pursuant to Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (“HEA”), as amended, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1070 et seq. (“Title IV, HEA Programs”). The Title IV, HEA programs, which are administered by ED, provide students with financial aid in the form of, among other things, Federal Pell Grants, Federal Direct Loans, and formerly, loans guaranteed by the federal government.
  • According to the governments’ complaint:

    • FastTrain submitted and/or caused to be submitted false information relating to the eligibility of students to receive Title IV, HEA program assistance, by providing false documentation showing that students had high school diplomas or its recognized equivalent, when they did not. Some FastTrain admissions personnel coached certain prospective ineligible students to lie on Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”) documentation in order for FastTrain to secure more federal funding for students than the students were eligible to receive.
    • As a result of the fraudulent scheme and its false representations of Title IV eligibility, FastTrain received millions of dollars of Title IV financial aid that it otherwise would not have received but for its conduct.
    • As alleged in the governments’ complaint, the United States sustained damages for over $4,340,000.00 in student loans ($4,021,321.00 in FDL Program and $320,925.00 in disbursed FFEL Program loans). In addition, the United States has sustained damages through Federal Pell Grants obtained through FastTrain’s fraudulent activities in the amount of $2,212,904.00.

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