As COVID-19 Stimulus Funds Flow, DOJ Puts Fraudsters on Notice and Calls Whistleblowers “Essential”
On March 11th, President Biden signed The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), a sweeping economic stimulus plan that will pump $1.9 trillion into the US economy. In addition to direct relief to Americans, ARPA includes record-setting government spending in numerous areas to speed recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession.
As we have previously written,...
In case you haven’t been following the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (or even if you have), you might be surprised to learn that the University of Hartford is poised to win it all this year—except for the fact that it lost in the first round of the tournament to Baylor University, 79-55, and has been eliminated from the competition.
Likewise, in case you haven’t been following the results of COVID-19...
COVID Frauds of the Week: DOJ Continues to Crack Down on PPP Fraudsters
As of this week, the Small Business Administration has disbursed over $700 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to small businesses and non-profits. There are over $100 billion in remaining appropriations, with additional appropriations likely to follow thereafter. With numbers like these, the program has become a magnet for fraudsters seeking to profit from the pandemic. The DOJ has been actively going...
DOJ Previews False Claims Act Enforcement Priorities for 2021
The False Claims Act is the federal government's primary enforcement tool to combat fraud against the public. Every year the government recovers billions of dollars under the statute, primarily with the help of whistleblowers. Under the so-called qui tam provisions of the act, whistleblowers are authorized to act as private attorneys general and bring lawsuits on behalf of the government and recover a portion of...
COVID Fraud a Year on from the Onset of the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has raged across the world over the last year, causing widespread harm both to humanity and the economy. Even in these trying times, fraudsters have not let up and have found ways to exploit the pandemic for personal gain. As we move into the one-year anniversary of the pandemic starting with the United States we look back on the ways programs intended for relief have been exploited, and a few of...
COVID Frauds of the Week: The DOJ Drumbeat Goes On, with Help from an Investigative Journalist
This past week, the drumbeat of government enforcement actions to address rampant fraud in COVID-19 contracts and small business loans continued, with a remarkable assist from an investigative journalist.
An Investigative Journalist Takes a Ride – and Discovers PPE Fraud
In Virginia, Robert S. Stewart, Jr., the founder, and president of an Arlington-based company, ironically named Federal Government Experts LLC,...
Eastern District of CA Announces First Civil Settlement Related to CARES Act Fraud
The Eastern District of California announced the very first civil settlement to resolve allegations of fraud against the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program. The agreement was entered into with SlideBelts, Inc., and its President, CFO and CEO, Brigham Taylor, for falsely certifying on its PPP applications to three financial institutions that they were not in bankruptcy when, in fact, they had been in the bankruptcy...
Constantine Cannon and AARP Foundation Represent Advocacy Groups on behalf of Nursing-Home Patients to Ensure Facility Accountability
Constantine Cannon LLP proudly joins the AARP Foundation in representing the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform in a lawsuit seeking to roll back a directive undercutting accountability for nursing homes that violate federal standards. The federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 allows states to recommend to CMS that a non-compliant facility pay civil...
The Colonial Automotive Group, Inc., a chain of automobile dealerships, will pay $1 million to resolve allegations that they defrauded the Massachusetts state Department of Unemployment Assistance. The dealership allegedly encouraged employees who were furloughed as a result of the state’s COVID-19 in-person business closures to sign up for unemployment benefits. and then requested those workers continue to perform dealership work, without pay, while they were collecting state benefits. MA
2020 Whistleblower of the Year Candidate – Dr. Rick Bright
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...