Mississippi barber school ordered to pay nearly $1 million after falsely claiming to teach veterans

Published 5:41 am Saturday, May 4, 2024

A Mississippi barber school and its owner have been ordered to pay nearly $1 million after bilking the federal government out of thousands of dollars by falsely claiming to teach classes to veterans.

This week, it was announced that the United States won a legal case against April Tucker Beard, who owns a barber school and salon called April’s Mane Attraction, Inc. (AMA), and another part of the school called April’s Mane Attraction, Inc., Academy (AMA/Academy).

The case started in October 2023 when the United States government said that Beard and her school were making false claims to get money from a program meant to help veterans with education. This program, called the Post-9/11 GI Bill, gives money to veterans and members of the armed services for school. The government said Beard and her school were saying they were giving veterans more school hours than they really were and charging them too much money. Instead of following the rules, they were taking advantage of the program.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Because of this, the government said Beard got over $235,000 from the program that she shouldn’t have. According to the rules, when someone commits fraud like this, they have to pay back three times the amount they took, plus extra penalties. So, on April 19, 2024, a judge said Beard and her school had to pay back $916,392.

Todd Gee, who is a lawyer for the United States in the Southern District of Mississippi, said that programs like the Post-9/11 GI Bill are really important for helping veterans and their families. He said it’s not right when people cheat and take money meant for veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, which oversees the GI Bill program, also said they are committed to making sure the money goes to the right people. They thanked the lawyers and investigators who worked on the case.

This investigation was done by different government groups, including the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Mississippi. Assistant United States Attorney Deidre Colson was the one who looked into the case and went to court.