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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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Telehealth Boomed During the Pandemic - and so Did Telehealth Fraud

Posted  08/24/22
By Hallie Noecker, Max Voldman
Doctor with stethoscope on computer screen
Prior to the pandemic, telehealth was basically nonexistent, with one study clocking the percentage of “virtual” doctors’ visits before Covid-19 at zero percent. At the time, America’s largest insurer, Medicare, only covered telemedicine in limited circumstances that usually still involved a visit to a healthcare facility. Medicare’s coverage limitations demonstrated the Department of Health and Human...

July 14, 2022

Bank of America will pay fines totaling $225 million to following federal investigation into its administration of state unemployment insurance and other public benefit programs, which it provided pursuant to contracts with 12 states to deliver benefits through prepaid debit cards. When demand for benefits surged with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank adopted automated fraud detection practices which it the government alleged it knew or should have known would lead to its incorrectly freezing or blocking accounts. The CFPB and OCC found that the Bank imposed unreasonable barriers that made it difficult for people to report fraudulent use of their cards or unfreeze their prepaid debit cards, and failed to establish adequate operational processes, risk management, and internal controls. In addition to the penalties – $100 million imposed by the CFPB and $125 million imposed by the OCC – the Bank was ordered to provide redress to consumers and take corrective action with respect to its oversight over the programs.  CFPB; OCC

May 31, 2022

Healthcare company SCWorx Corp. has agreed to resolve SEC charges that it made false and misleading statements in an April, 2020 press release, claiming in a press release that it had received a purchase order for millions of COVID-19 rapid test kits.  The announcement caused the company’s stock price to surge, but the SEC alleged that the company had neither a legitimate supplier of COVID-19 test kits nor an executed purchase agreement with a buyer.  When the true facts became public, investors lost at least $116 million.  The company has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $125,000 and contribute stock valued at $600,000 as disgorgement and prejudgment interest to harmed investors in a private class action.  The company’s former CEO, Marc Schessel, has been indicted for securities fraud with respect to the scheme.  SEC; USAO NJ

DOJ Ramps Up Enforcement Against COVID-19 Fraud

Posted  04/25/22
COVID-19-Fraud-Whistleblower-Lawyers
Even as mask restrictions are being relaxed in most parts of the country, the U.S. Department of Justice is ramping up its oversight of federal funds spent to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.  Just last week, DOJ announced criminal charges against 21 defendants in nine federal districts for their alleged participation in COVID-19 fraud schemes that resulted in over $149 million in false billings to federal programs. 

Catch of the Week: A Tale of Two Cons

Posted  02/10/22
Money Rolls
The start of February 2022 brought resolutions in two different COVID-19 fraud cases, one in the Paycheck Protection Program and one in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Both involved scammers with previous criminal records who fraudulently obtained COVID relief money. The Department of Justice continues to prioritize enforcement against fraudsters who take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program,...

Top Ten Financial and Healthcare Fraud Prison Sentences of 2021

Posted  01/28/22
handcuff and money
Individuals involved in financial and healthcare fraud schemes face not just civil liability, but also criminal penalties – including prison time. In 2021, the Department of Justice obtained substantial prison sentences in a myriad of cases involving healthcare and financial frauds, many of which involved convictions of the type of fraudulent schemes that whistleblowers report. Whistleblowers play an essential role...

November 16, 2021

Richard Ayvazyan was sentence to 17 years in prison, his wife Marietta Terabelian to six years, and his brother Artur Ayvazyan to five years, following their convictions at trial on charges related to their scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $20 million in Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan COVID-19 relief funds.  The defendants used dozens of false identities to submit fraudulent applications for approximately 150 PPP and EIDL loans, supporting applications with false and fictitious documents including fake identity documents, tax documents and payroll records. DOJ; USAO CD Cal

Catch of the Week: Classic Medicare Fraud

Posted  11/5/21
medicare dollars
For those like your correspondents who spend their days deep in the weeds of complex Medicare fraud, it’s a delight when something refreshingly simple comes along.  Thanks to Billy Joe Taylor of Arkansas, we can relax this Friday with a cool glass of straightforward Medicare fraud.  For allegedly making $100 million in claims to CMS for tests that were not ordered or ever performed, he is our Catch of the...

Three States Impose Profit Limits on Nursing Homes

Posted  10/29/21
By Leah Judge
Woman holding elderly person's wrist
New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have just sent a clear message to nursing home operators: patient care must be prioritized over profits.  Each state is introducing rules requiring nursing homes to spend a specific portion of their total revenue on direct patient care.  In New York, it will be at least 70%, in Massachusetts at least 75%, and in New Jersey at least 90%.  The three states are also limiting...

Catch of the Week: Florida Man Charged with Stealing Over $12 Million in Funds Slated for PPE

Posted  08/27/21
person handcuffed with hands on stack of papers with briefcase
DOJ continues to make good on its promise to root out fraud in pandemic relief.  This week, a Florida resident Brian Sperber was indicted for defrauding hospitals and medical institutions out of more than $12 million dollars by falsely promising to deliver personal protective equipment to those purchasers. Sperber and his co-conspirators, who ran medical supply and logistics companies, took orders for N95 masks and...
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