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NEWS | DOJ Continues Efforts to Recover Stolen COVID-19 Funds

The public health emergency may have waned, but the DOJ’s work is “far from over.”

Last week, the Justice Department (DOJ) announced the launch of two new COVID-19 fraud enforcement task forces out of its U.S. Attorneys’ District Offices in Colorado and New Jersey.

Already pursuing more than 700 enforcement actions to combat COVID-19 fraud, the new task forces reportedly intend to initiate federal criminal charges against 371 defendants, collectively representing over $836 million in illegally obtained or stolen funds.

This is in addition to an estimated $600 million seized by the DOJ from defendants across the country.

Out of the 371 defendants charged by these new fraud enforcement task forces, 119 have already pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial, and over $57 million in court-ordered restitution has been imposed.

Acting Director of the DOJ’s COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement division Michael C. Galdo said further that 63 of the defendants had alleged connections to violent crime, including violent gang members accused of using pandemic funds to pay for a murder for hire, and 25 defendants have alleged connections to transnational crime networks.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP loans) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EDIL) were the two programs most abused by those committing COVID-19 fraud.

NSBA applauds the DOJ’s commitment to ensuring accountability for the nation’s small-business community. Read its full report here.


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