The Department of Justice on Thursday appointed Kevin Chambers to lead its effort to pursue fraud and attempted fraud cases relating to at least $8 billion in COVID-19 Relief funds.
The decision to appoint a prosecutor to prosecute incentive fraud follows President Biden’s decision State of the Union who castsHe vowed to pursue “criminals who stole billions of relief funds.”
Mr. Chambers, who has served as Deputy Attorney General for the past year, will direct the department Criminal and Civil Enforcement Efforts and oversee the investigation and prosecution of fraud allegations.
Since the health crisis began, the federal government has sent nearly $5 trillion to American families, small businesses, schools and other institutions to help the American economy recover from the pandemic. While the money has accelerated nationwide vaccination campaigns, provided relief for unemployed workers and helped schools hire teachers to tackle learning loss, the money has also led to a series of high-profile fraud cases.
Florida authorities said, that a woman paid a Assassin Using part of a $15,000 loan intended to help struggling small businesses. In Georgia, a man spent $57,000 in coronavirus relief money Buy a rare pokemon trading card Later seized by federal authorities. And others all over the country spent relief money FerrariAnd the Lamborghini and luxury jewelry, officials said.
Mr. Chambers will focus on “large criminal enterprises and foreign actors” that have misused funds. These efforts will include setting up “strike teams” before management’s next phase in handling cases of epidemic fraud.
“Our strike teams will enhance the Department’s current efforts and will include analysts and data scientists to review data, agents to investigate cases, and prosecutors and attorneys general to bring charges and prosecute cases,” Chambers said in a statement.
The department’s efforts to date have resulted in criminal charges being brought against more than 1,000 defendants and the forfeiture of more than $1 billion in proceeds from the Economic Disaster Loan Program, which has provided loans to small businesses during the pandemic.
Early investigations also indicated that “international organized criminal groups” had targeted federal programs that distribute unemployment benefits. The department said international and domestic criminals used stolen identities to apply for benefits. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 430 people have been arrested and charged with federal crimes related to unemployment insurance fraud, according to the department.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland created a task force for the Covid-19 anti-fraud application last May. It works with other government agencies to prosecute the “most guilty” criminals.
“We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to exploit the pandemic for personal gain, protect vulnerable populations, and protect the integrity of taxpayer-funded programs,” Mr. Garland said in a statement Thursday.
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