Attorney General Gurbir Grewal recently filed a civil lawsuit against Academy Bus LLC alleging that he defrauded New Jersey's public transport company.
A civil lawsuit announced earlier this week alleges that Academy Bus LLC "defrauded New Jersey's public transport company of more than $ 15 million by under-reporting trips that its buses missed and billing for trips who never did ". The lawsuit was announced by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who said the bus company "pays off as the largest privately owned and operated transport company in the country".
Law hammer; Image courtesy of Activedia via Pixabay, https://pixabay.com
According to the lawsuit, the Academy allegedly "failed to report tens of thousands of missed trips over a six-year period ending in late 2018 in order to avoid evaluations under their contract with New Jersey Transit." The lawsuit also alleges that "most trips were made on routes serving the Hudson County boardwalk, including the service to New York City." Often the drivers were not informed of the missed journeys and left "delayed or stranded".
As a result, the lawsuit argued that the bus company had violated a number of laws, including "false claims and unjust enrichment laws". She seeks damages and civil sanctions.
For those who didn't know, the academy operates tour and charter buses across the eastern United States between Boston and Miami. The lawsuit alleges that "missed trips by NJ Transit were the result of the Academy shifting drivers from local routes to more profitable charter routes." It further argues:
“The Academy bills NJ Transit around $ 12 million annually, while NJ Transit collects fares from its routes. Under the contract, NJ Transit would deduct a rating for each missed trip. To avoid the ratings, the academy kept two sets of numbers. One tracked the actual number of missed trips and the second reflected a significantly lower number that would be reported to NJ in transit. "
The lawsuit also mentions an SMS exchange between two employees, in which the aim was "to reduce the number of missed trips from 1,800 to 700". One of the messages read: “Bro bro. It's really missed 1800 – we're playing with it, right? “This exchange was hardly an isolated incident. Over time, the bus company reported more than 800 journeys in a month alone.” However, the academy continued to charge NJ Transit for trips that canceled their buses, effectively defrauding NJ Transit.
Commenting on the case, Grewal said:
“Most of us know how frustrating it can be to wait for a bus that doesn't show up on time or doesn't show up at all. Our complaint against Academy Bus assumes that one reason for these late and missing buses was a ubiquitous multi-year scam by Academy that not only cost drivers their time, but also cost NJ Transit many millions of dollars. With this lawsuit, we seek justice for both the equestrian crowd and taxpayers in New Jersey. "
Lawsuit Says Bus Company Missed Trips, Scammed NJ Transit
AG Grewal files lawsuit alleging Academy Bus defrauded NJ Transit by failing to report missed bus rides and charging fees for rides that never took place. Fraud reportedly cost NJ Transit over $ 15 million