A pair of District of Columbia police officers are on the hook for a $539,000 judgment for fraudulently enrolling their children in the city’s public schools for a decade.
The married couple lived in various locations across Maryland and Virginia while their children attended D.C. schools between 2003 and 2013, according to a press release from the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General.
During that time, the husband used the address of a rental property he owned in Washington to enroll the couple’s children in some of the city’s most coveted public schools. Under D.C. law, nonresidents who attend city schools must pay tuition ranging from $7,000 to $10,000 annually for each child.
“D.C. taxpayers should not be subsidizing the education of children from other states,” District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement announcing the judgment. “We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who falsely claim District residency in order to obtain government benefits to which they are not entitled.”
The Washington Post reports the issue of nonresidents enrolling in Washington’s schools has “become increasingly charged as the city has expanded access to publicly funded preschool programs, poured millions of dollars into school renovations and has seen its academic achievements rise.”
Maryland and Virginia border the District of Columbia, making it relatively easy, and convenient, for parents to transport their children into the city to take advantage of some of the its most-coveted schools.
The police officers weren’t the first to get caught while trying to game the system. Since it began suing parents for non-resident-tuition fraud in 2012, the D.C. Office of the Attorney General has obtained 24 monetary judgments and out-of-court settlements totaling nearly $1.25 million.
After the D.C. Police Department and the school district investigated their residency, the parents withdrew their children from the D.C. schools and, according to the lawsuit filed against them, have not made any payments to the city.
A D.C. Superior Court judge ordered the parents to pay the city $448,000 and another $90,000 in fines. The judge arrived at the judgment amount by tripling the total the parents should have paid to the school system for nonresident tuition.
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.