Feds Settle With Two N. Carolina Schools, Agency Over Funds

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — AmeriCorps has announced settlements with two North Carolina universities and a service agency which requires a payment of more than $800,000 to the U.S. to resolved allegations of false claims for grant money, a federal prosecutor says.

Acting U.S. Attorney G. Norman Acker III, in a joint announcement with AmeriCorps, announced the settlements on Tuesday with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. The settlement calls for a total payment of $842,500 to the U.S. for grant funds.

AmeriCorps provides grant funds as student education awards to students based upon certifications of service hours, as well as funds directly to the commission for salaries of certain employees who oversaw AmeriCorps programs, according to a news release.

An investigation showed the universities and the commission caused false certifications for service hours worked and related violations of grant requirements in connection with grant funds paid from 2014 through 2019.

Specifically, the U.S. contended that the schools engaged in widespread violations of grant requirements, acted with reckless disregard in causing false claims, failed to maintain proper internal controls and systematically certified false hours for AmeriCorps members.