Learning Tree International Inc. Agrees to Pay $4.5 Million to Settle Allegations of Improper Billing Practices and Retention of Federal Funds
WASHINGTON – Learning Tree International Inc. has agreed to pay the United States $4.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act when it improperly invoiced federal agencies in advance for information technology training courses and kept federal funds for training courses that were never actually provided, the Justice Department announced today.
Under its contract with the General Services Administration ("GSA"), Learning Tree sells information technology training courses to the federal government in multi-course packages known as "vouchers" or "passports." To prevent the United States from paying for training services that are not actually rendered, the contract specifically requires that Learning Tree invoice the government only after services are provided.
The settlement resolves allegations that Learning Tree knowingly invoiced federal agencies in advance for multi-course training packages before employees of the purchasing agencies had attended the full number of courses available under each. The government further alleged that upon expiration of the training packages, Learning Tree retained federal funds that the company received in connection with unused courses without providing a refund or credit. As a result, Learning Tree received federal funds for training courses that were not, in fact, provided.
"Government contractors must deal fairly and honestly with the United States," said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. "When federal funds are being misused, we will take action to protect the taxpayers."
This matter was investigated by the General Service Administration Office of Inspector General, the Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, the Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General, and the Department of Justice, Civil Division.