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COVID-19

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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2020 Whistleblower of the Year Candidate – Dr. Rick Bright

Posted  01/8/21
covid-virus
Scientists within federal agencies don’t normally have to put their jobs and reputation on the line in order to do what until recently we took for granted:  that the federal government would take action consistent with the best scientific methods and evidence when the country is faced with a grave and immediate public health threat.  But the last four years during the Trump administration have been anything but...

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...

2020 Whistleblower of the Year Candidate – Rebekah Jones

Posted  12/28/20
We know her story all too well at this point.  Rebekah Jones is the geospatial scientist who designed and managed the COVID-19 tracking dashboard for Florida’s Department of Health.  This was the database reporting on the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Florida.  It was a model for other states to follow, widely praised for its clarity and accessibility, and even championed by former White House...

State False Claims Acts: A Key Tool in the Fight against COVID Frauds

Posted  12/16/20
woman wearing a mask and pouring hand sanitizer on hand
We all remember the early days of the pandemic when coordination at the Federal level was lacking and states were left to their own devices. States reacted in a variety of ways to fight this public health catastrophe, they created subnational coalitions, struck their own deals for secret mask shipments from China, and conducted their own foreign policy to buy tests from South Korea. Things were chaotic and, and as...

COVID Frauds of the Week: PPP, Puppies, and Securities Fraud

Posted  12/11/20
golden retriever puppies sitting in a grass field
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, the government has remained vigilant in rooting out fraudsters who seek to capitalize on the crisis to line their own pockets.  Over the past week, federal prosecutors have advanced cases against multiple individuals who fraudulently obtained government funds that were supposed to help struggling small businesses.  And in another colorful case, DOJ busted a...

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...

A better approach to stop feeding the fraudsters with CARES Act relief

Posted  10/29/20
By Gordon Schnell, Max Voldman
blue gloves holding a mask
(Published in Tennessean) The federal government has yet to come up with an appropriate answer for the feeding frenzy of fraud that is looming with billions in CARES Act funding in play and trillions more likely on the way. Despite its best efforts, the government loses tens of billions of dollars from fraud every year, much of it committed by the very same companies now benefitting from CARES Act relief. Unless...

COVID Frauds of the Week: Fraudulently Claiming PPP Loans

Posted  10/2/20
person following a trail of money
This week, DOJ took action against two large alleged frauds on the Paycheck Protection Program.  In Hawaii and North Carolina, individuals were charged with fraudulently claiming loans from the critical relief program. In North Carolina, Tristan Pan found himself charged with wire and bank fraud, plus unlawful monetary transactions, for an alleged scheme to get bogus PPP loans.  He allegedly cooked up a series of...

COVID Frauds of the Week: More PPP and PPE Fraudsters, and an Update

Posted  09/17/20
hundred dollar bill zoomed in
Attorney General William P. Barr announced the results of his Payroll Protection Program (PPP) Criminal Fraud Enforcement Action this week, and noted that as of August 8, 2020, over 5.2 million loans had been approved, with a total federal expenditure of over $525 billion in federal business support expenditures. The downside is that Paycheck Protection Program fraudsters have cost the government over $70 million in...
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