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Catch of the Week

This archive includes posts from our “Catch of the Week” series, in which the Whistleblower Insider blog highlights particular government enforcement actions.  Return to:

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COVID Fraud: New York Pharmacy Owners Indicted on Charges Arising from their Abuse of Emergency Override Billing Codes

Posted  01/7/21
Flashing lights on top of police car
As we have previously written, regulatory changes designed to alleviate logistical and financial pressure on healthcare providers during the COVID-19 crisis, while necessary, can create opportunities for fraudsters.  Last month, an indictment in New York revealed a scheme by two pharmacy owners who took advantage of relaxed rules regarding prescription prior authorization and refill timing to overcharge Medicare and...

COVID Frauds of the Week: PPP Loans for Fraudsters Who Like Nice Things

Posted  11/20/20
money in a spiral form with a bankroll of cash on top
It was another busy week for the DOJ, with at least 13 individuals charged for their attempts to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program out of cash meant to help real businesses with real employees, rather than to fund fraudsters’ extravagant lifestyles and idiotic, selfish behavior. Aditya Raj Sharma, 47, of Maple Grove, Minnesota—fake entrepreneur and apparent fan of swimming—was arrested and charged with...

Catch of the Week: Guild Mortgage

Posted  10/30/20
stack of mortgage papers with gavel and money
We’re in the midst of a recession, 13 million Americans are out of work, GDP growth is slowing, and stock market volatility is approaching record-breaking levels. This recession is largely driven by the emergence of a mostly natural and random phenomenon, COVD-19, though there is plenty of blame to go around in how humans have reacted to the spread of the virus. This week’s catch of the week, however, harkens back...

COVID Frauds of the Week: Fraud on Stimulus Programs and Consumers

Posted  07/31/20
handcuffs on a gavel with money scattered around
Like the virus itself, fraud that exploits the COVID-19 pandemic just will not go away, so we are back with another installment of our continuing series highlighting related government enforcement actions.  This week, we saw a continued enforcement focus in two areas: fraud on stimulus programs and consumers.

Stimulus Fraud

Three charges this week highlighted the government’s ongoing efforts to expose and bring...

COVID Fraud of the Week: Washington State Man Charged with Attempting to Launder COVID-19 Relief Money

Posted  07/24/20
Flashing lights on top of police car
On July 23rd, the Department of Justice announced that Mukund Mohan, a Washington state tech company executive, was taken into custody for allegedly laundering money he fraudulently received through the COVID-19 related Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). After receiving funds through the program, Mohan allegedly transferred over $230,000 to his personal brokerage account. These charges mark another instance of...

COVID-19 Frauds of the Week: Fake Employees and Fake Treatments

Posted  07/17/20
handcuffs on a gavel with money scattered around
Taxpayers, rightfully upset about large companies such as Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse claiming large sums of Paycheck Protection Program money from the Small Business Administration, should consider shifting some of their ire to applicants posing as the original intended recipients—small businesses—who are getting in on the grift. And for fraudsters who prefer to market unproven products rather than...

COVID Frauds of the Week: Fraud on the PPP

Posted  06/26/20
hundared dollar bill zoomed in to president's face
This week’s COVID-19 frauds centered on (temporarily) successful attempts to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds for nonexistent companies and fabricated or inflated employee headcounts. First up is the owner of a wedding planning company that sought personal enrichment via more than $3 million in forgivable PPP loans for his 120 nonexistent employees. Fahad Shah, 44, of Murphy, Texas, was arrested...

COVID Frauds of the Week: Consumer and Investor Fraud

Posted  06/18/20
tiles spelling out lockdown
Scammers continue to prey on the vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis, and thankfully, they continue to get busted for it.  This week, the enforcement highlights centered on consumer and investor fraud, although there are surely numerous other kinds of fraud that have not yet been stopped. The Federal Trade Commission this week announced that it had taken legal action to try to shut down a remarkably (and...

DOJ Charges Healthcare CEO with Criminal Securities and Healthcare Fraud

Posted  06/12/20
Hands in handcuffs behind back of white man in business suit
In 2008, Rahm Emanuel, then-President Obama’s chief of staff, famously said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.  I mean, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”  However poorly phrased, generations of political and business leaders have understood the kernel of truth in his admonition. So have scammers and rip-off artists. We have been following the...

A COVID-19 Pesticide, Unproven Treatments, and Splashing Out On SBA’s Dime

Posted  06/5/20
statue of liberty spraying disinfectant with a mask over her mouth
The US DOJ continued its efforts to combat the sale of unproven and unregistered COVID-19 treatments and preventatives and charged purported “business owners” for CARES and PPP funds fraud this week. A Georgia woman pleaded guilty to selling an unregistered pesticide, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Rong “Vicky” Sun, 34, of Fayetteville, Georgia, will be...
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