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Feds look for fraud in $670-billion small business loan program

As part of the federal government’s efforts to keep the economy going during the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress created a $670 billion emergency loan program for small businesses called the Paycheck Protection Program. The DOJ is now announcing that it will scrutinize businesses that apply for and receive this aid, especially large businesses and those applying …

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DOJ Targets Internet Scams Involving COVID-19 Fraud

The Department of Justice issued a press release today announcing that it “has disrupted hundreds of internet domains used to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to commit fraud and other crimes.” The presser notes that the FBI has received thousands of tips related to COVID-19 scams from websites advertising fake vaccines and treatments, fake charity drives, …

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Feds bring first prosecution under Defense Production Act

In an unprecedented move, the federal government has brought its first criminal prosecution under the Defense Production Act, charging Bobby Singh, a business owner in Long Island, with hoarding and price-gouging personal protective equipment. Under the Defense Production Act, the president can issue an executive order recognizing certain products and materials as “scarce materials” and …

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Fed’s Effort to Combat Opioid Crisis Hits Walmart, other Pharmacies

This month saw new signs that the federal government is escalating its war on the opioid epidemic. First, ProPublica reported on new developments in a lawsuit against Walmart and other companies that revealed that Walmart has been hiding that the company was previously under criminal investigation regarding its opioid dispensing practices. The lawyers representing the …

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BOP Releasing Few Inmates and Changing Rules as Crisis Worsens

The Marshall Project has recently reported that few inmates in BOP custody have been released since Attorney General issued a memorandum urging the BOP to maximize the number of inmates it releases to home confinement in order to curb the significant outbreak of COVID-19 among its facilities. The BOP website currently discloses that the BOP …

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Georgia Man Accused of COVID-19 Scam Against VA

April 10, 2020 An Atlanta man was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors in D.C. with wire fraud charges. The man is accused of attempting to sell millions of non-existent respirator masks to the Department of Veterans Affairs in exchange for upfront payments. According to prosecutors, the defendant had promised the VA and others that …

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IRS Targeting COVID-19 Fraud

April 9, 2020 Since Congress passed a $2 trillion+ stimulus bill (The CARES Act) to provide financial relief to individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, law enforcement agencies have been preparing to launch aggressive investigations into organizations and people suspected of fraud related to these federal benefits. For example, the CARES Act provides direct …

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Feds Charge Georgia Woman Selling Illegal Pesticides as Anti-Virus Protection

April 9, 2020 The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia announced that it arrested a Georgia woman on federal charges of illegally importing and selling an unregistered pesticide that she marketed as protection from viruses. The pesticide was sold through eBay and had names like “Virus Shut Out” and “Stop the Virus” and …

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Contrast: Cali Courts Consider $0 Bail, NY Rolls Back Bail Reforms

April 12, 2020. The past two weeks saw contrasting approaches from two blue states regarding how to manage large inmate populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In California, the Judicial Council held an emergency meeting last week to vote on and adopt a series of measures to alleviate the judicial emergency in California. The Council passed …

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Feds and State Prosecutors Form Georgia COVID-19 Fraud Task Force

April 7, 2020 Following the decision to appoint a “coronavirus fraud coordinator” by the US Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Georgia, a new task force has been formed by Georgia’s major prosecutors from the state and federal level. The new “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fraud Task Force” consisted of agencies including the Governor’s Office, the …

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