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Four former recruiters at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco are accusing school officials of using an illegal compensation plan to cheat the federal government out of millions of dollars in financial aid, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

In a so-called "whistleblower" lawsuit filed in federal court, the former employees claim the school adjusted their pay up or down, depending on how many students they registered. The suit also claims the school offered bonus trips to Hawaii as an incentive, then lied to the government about the incentives, the newspaper said.

The former recruiters — Scott Rose, Mary Aquino, Mitchell Nelson and Lucy Stearns — are suing under the False Claims Act, a federal law that allows individuals to sue on behalf of the government, and receive 15 to 30 percent of any settlement or money recovered, said their attorney, Stephen Jaffe.