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Princeton Review Complaint

Princeton Review Complaint

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Published by: huffpost on May 02, 2012
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03/30/2014

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PREETBHARARAUnitedStatesAttorneyfortheSouthernDistrictofNewYorkBy:CHRISTOPHERB.HARWOODAssistantUnitedStatesAttorney86ChambersStreet,ThirdFloorNewYork,NewYork10007Telephone:(212)637-2728Facsimile:(212)637-2786Email:christopher.harwood@usdoj.gov
UNITEDSTATESDISTRICTCOURTSOUTHERNDISTRICTOFNEWYORK
Plaintiff,
---------------------------------------------------------------x
UNITEDSTATESandSTATEOFNEWYORKexrel.JANEDOE,v.THEPRINCETONREVIEW,INC.andSTEPHENGREEN,09Civ.6876(BSJ)Defendants.
COMPLAINT-IN-INTERVENTION
-------~-------------------------------------------------------x
OFTHEUNITEDSTATES
UNITEDSTATESOFAMERICA,
OFAMERICA
Plaintiff,
JuryTrialDemanded
v.THEPRINCETONREVIEW,INC.andANAAZOCAR,Defendants.
---------------------------------------------------------------x
TheUnitedStatesofAmerica(the"UnitedStates"orthe"Government"),byitsattorney,PreetBharara,UnitedStatesAttorneyfortheSouthernDistrictofNewYork,bringsthisactionagainstThePrincetonReview,Inc.("PrincetonReview")andAnaAzocar("Azocar"),aformer
 
employeeofPrincetonReview(collectively,"Defendants"),alleginguponinformationandbeliefasfollows:
INTRODUCTION
1.ThisisacivilfraudsuitbroughtbytheUnitedStatesagainstPrincetonReview,aleadingproviderofeducationalproductsandservices,andAzocar,aformeremployeeofPrincetonReview,forPrincetonReview'sbillingandobtainingGovernmentfundsforthousandsofhoursoftutoringservicesthatPrincetonReviewneverinfactprovided.Between2006and2010(the"CoveredPeriod"),PrincetonReviewwaspaidtensofmillionsofdollars-infederalfundspursuanttotheElementaryandSecondaryEducationActof1965,asamendedbytheNoChildLeftBehindActof2001-forpurportedlyprovidingtutoringservicestounderprivilegedstudents.Infact,however,PrincetonReviewwasrepeatedlybillingforstudentswhoneverreceivedtheseservices.ManyofthePrincetonReviewemployeeswhowereresponsibleforoverseeingtheday-to-dayoperationsofPrincetonReview'stutoringprogramroutinelyfalsifiedstudentattendancerecordstomakeitappearasthoughmorestudentshadattendedtheprogramthanhadactuallyattended.Theseemployeesdidthisbecausetheywerepressuredbytheirsupervisorstomaintainhighdailystudentattendance.Moreover,someoftheseemployeesfalsifiedstudentattendancerecordsatthedirectionand/orurgingofAzocar.DuringtheCoveredPeriod,andasaresultofthesefalsifiedattendancerecords,PrincetonReviewsubmittedfalsecertificationstotheNewYorkCityDepartmentofEducation(the"NYCDOE")statingthattheinvoicesitwassubmittingforitstutoringserviceswere"trueandaccurate"eventhoughtheywerenot.ThesefalsecertificationsmisledtheNYCDOEintopayingPrincetonReviewmillionsofdollarsfortutoringservicesthatPrincetonReviewhadnotinfactprovided.
2
 
2.DuringtheCoveredPeriod,PrincetonReviewwasaproviderofSupplementalEducationalServices("SES")inNewYorkCity.Assuch,PrincetonReviewprovidedafter-schooltutoringtounderprivilegedstudentsattendingunderperformingpublicschoolsinNewYorkCity.Inexchangeforprovidingthesetutoringservices,theNYCDOEpaidPrincetonReviewafixedamountofmoneyperhourforeachstudentthatPrincetonReviewtutored.ThismoneyconsistedentirelyoffundsprovidedtoNewYorkStatebythefederalGovernmentundertheElementaryandSecondaryEducationActof1965,asamendedbytheNoChildLeftBehindActof2001.3.DuringtheCoveredPeriod,PrincetonReviewenteredintocontractswiththeNYCDOE.Pursuanttothesecontracts,PrincetonReviewwasrequiredtorecordattendanceateachofitsSEStutoringclassesonadailybasis.Foreachtutoringclass,PrincetonReviewwasrequiredtohaveeachstudentwhoattendedsigninandsignoutonastandardattendanceform.Asaconditionofgettingpaidforitstutoringservices,PrincetonReviewwasrequiredtocertifytotheNYCDOEthatitsattendancerecordswere"trueandaccurate."4.ManyofthePrincetonReviewemployeeswhooversawtheday-to-dayoperationsofPrincetonReview'sSESprogram,however,didnotaccuratelykeeptrackofdailystudentattendance.Rather,theyroutinelyfalsifiedentriesonPrincetonReview'sdailystudentattendanceformstomakeitappearasthoughmorestudentshadattendedtheprogramthanhadactuallyattended.Theseemployees("SiteManagers")werepressuredbytheirsupervisors("Directors")tomaintainhighdailystudentattendance,includingbybeingthreatenedwithterminationand/orhavingtheirpaycut.Moreover,Azocar(aDirector)instructedand/orencouragedsomeoftheseSiteManagerstofalsifyentriesonthedailystudentattendanceforms,includingbysigninginforabsentstudents.3

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