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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Emery Woman Pays $60,000 For Defrauding Government

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that the United States reached a settlement with an Emery, South Dakota, woman in a civil case involving false claims.  
Jolene K. Schulz, 57, was a property manager for several low income housing projects. From 2006 through 2010, Schulz entered false information on reports for projects she managed and submitted those documents to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Program (RD). USDA-RD made direct loans to these housing projects and provided interest credit, rental assistance subsidies, and management fees based on information Schulz submitted. 
Schulz was previously indicted by a grand jury in 2012 and pled guilty for Use of A False Document (Class D felony) 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(3).  (See, United States v. Jolene K. Schulz; 12CR40044-1).  A criminal judgment was entered against Schulz on July 15, 2013, ordering her, in part, to make restitution in the amount of $38,814.09 to the housing projects.In addition to the criminal restitution, the United States reached a civil settlement with Schulz, and on September 8, 2014, she paid the government $60,000 to settle claims under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733; and the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3801-3812.

The False Claims Act imposes civil liability on persons and companies who knowingly submit false claims to the government, or causes another to submit a false claim to the government, or knowingly makes a false record or statement to get a false claim or benefit paid by the government. Persons who submit a false claim must pay to the United States a civil penalty of not less than $5,500 and not more than $11,000 for each false claim, plus up to three times the amount of damages which the government sustained.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office places a high priority on criminal and civil enforcement in cases involving all types of fraud committed against the government, and it works with various law enforcement agencies to identify and investigate these matters.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the USDA, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John E. Haak and Cheryl Schrempp DuPris prosecuted the criminal and civil cases respectively.

Updated June 22, 2015