The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will receive a website, GIBill.com, from a marketing company accused of deceiving veterans by steering them to for-profit colleges while it masqueraded as an unbiased source of information.
QuinStreet, a publicly held Foster City, Calif.-based company, on Wednesday announced that it has entered into an agreement with the attorneys general from 15 states who were investigating the company for potential violations of consumer protection laws.
The company disclosed the settlement in an SEC filing.
The states involved in the settlement alleged that the company duped users by implying that military education benefits could only be used at schools listed on its website, when in fact it the list of schools was incomplete.
GIBill.com also allegedly said its information was unbiased and comprehensive when in fact only clients of the company were listed on the site.
"This company preyed on our veterans who received educational benefits as a result of their military service to our country," Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said in a news release after the settlement. "The actions were unconscionable and purposefully drove veterans to for-profit colleges who were perhaps more interested in getting their hands on the federal benefits than in educating our soldiers and their families."
While it admits no wrongdoing, QuinStreet is donating the website’s address to Veterans Affairs and is paying $2.5 million to reimburse states for investigation costs, according to the SEC filing on the case.
QuinStreet runs hundreds of websites that collect a fee by driving users to educational institutions.
Current disclaimers on GIBIll.com point out there is no affiliation with the government. However, a year ago the disclaimers were absent from the site, ArmyTimes.com reported.
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