Community college pays $4.08 million to Uncle Sam settling whistleblower suit over grants

Maricopa Community Colleges has agreed to pay $4.08 million to settle allegations and a whistleblower lawsuit claiming false claims were submitted for community service grants to students at Paradise Valley Community College. The case alleged $4 million worth of faulty or false community service hours claims so students could qualify for AmeriCorps grants and pay for service hours. It related to management of Project Ayuda, a service program housed at the college from 2007-2011. Under the federally-funded grant program, college students were awarded educational stipends from the AmeriCorps Trust upon completion of agreed-upon volunteer services to local communities in need.

“Taxpayers are justifiably outraged when a community fails to receive promised services because national service funds were misused,” said CNCS’s Inspector General Deborah Jeffrey. “We hope that this settlement will deter other grantees from similar misconduct.”

An MCCD employee, Christine Hunt, filed a whistleblower lawsuit in the case and will receive $775,827.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers