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On 7 February, a judge ruled that the state of Pennsylvania failed to provide K-12 schools with adequate funding to allow all 1.7 million students to access high-quality education.

There are many legal news stories happening all over the country, and it’s our job to keep you in the know about these cases. Here are some of the biggest news stories of the week.

Judge rules Pennsylvania school funding to be unconstitutional

On 7 February, a judge ruled that the state of Pennsylvania failed to provide K-12 schools with adequate funding to allow all 1.7 million students to access high-quality education.

Six months after a high-profile school funding trial that received nationwide attention, a decision was made in Pennsylvania regarding the case. The original lawsuit was filed nine years prior by the Public Interest Law Center and the Education Law Center on behalf of school districts that claimed that there were fundamental inequalities in the funding system.

The next steps following the decision are currently unclear. While a ruling was made, the judge did not provide specific guidance on how policymakers should proceed, leaving the implementation of any necessary changes uncertain. 

Previous rulings in other school funding cases have not always resulted in the desired reforms to the funding system, further adding to the uncertainty surrounding the case.

You can read more about this story here.

Paycheck Protection Program gives rise to fraudsters

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Robert Benlevi, a man in his fifties residing in suburban Los Angeles, submitted an application for loans from the Small Business Administration-backed Paycheck Protection Program. The loans were designed to help maintain employment opportunities for individuals.

Government records show that over a span of three months in 2020, Robert Benlevi submitted a total of 27 applications to four different banks. To be eligible for the loans, applicants were obligated to confirm the number of job positions their companies would preserve, and the loan amount was based on the payroll information submitted by the applicants. 

According to the government, Benlevi stated that he owned eight separate businesses with a hundred employees each and that the average monthly payroll cost for each business was $400,000. However, it was later discovered that none of his businesses had any employees.

Benlevi was found guilty by a federal jury in Los Angeles in March 2022 of committing bank fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to a financial institution. In July, he received a sentence of over 11 years in prison.

According to lawyers and academics interviewed by the ABA Journal, individuals who submitted loan applications with improbable details through the Paycheck Protection Program to obtain amounts in the five-figure range, rather than seven, may not face consequences for their fraudulent actions. 

Many experts are skeptical about the likelihood of most fraudulent individuals being apprehended, as this scale of fraud appears to be extensive.

If you require expert legal assistance for a legal matter in Pennsylvania, our team of proficient lawyers is ready to support you all the way. Speak to the Very Law team today!

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