Throughout July, the Department of Justice has been announcing an increasing number of prosecutions against individuals accused of “COVID Relief Fraud,” also referred to as CARES Act Fraud. Most cases involved the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The past week saw cases brought across the country from California to Florida and included charges for wire fraud, bank fraud, false statements, money laundering, and healthcare fraud.
Last week, a man in California was indicted for fraudulently seeking over $8.5 million in PPP loans. According to the criminal complaint, the man allegedly submitted applications with false and misleading statements about his “business operations and payroll expenses,” “submitted fake and altered documents,” and used “false and fraudulent identifications.” The government further alleges that the man used his loan proceeds in the stock-market and at a casino.
A man in Texas was charged with making false statements to a financial institution, wire fraud, bank fraud, and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. The complaint alleges he claimed false amounts of employees and wages in his PPP applications. The complaint also alleges he used his loan funds to invest in cryptocurrency and for cash withdrawals.
In Washington, D.C., a man was charged with making false statements to a financial institution. The complaint alleges he submitted several fake and fraudulent documents in his applications for a PPP loan, including invalid or incorrect social security numbers. The complaint also alleges he submitted a false tax return in his application.
A Florida man was charged with both COVID relief fraud and health care fraud for fraudulently seeking PPP loans, “defraud[ing] Medicare of at least 5.6 million,” and potentially using PPP loan proceeds “in furtherance of the Medicare fraud scheme.” The government alleges he made “several fraudulent PPP loan applications” and “submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for orthotic braces that were medically unnecessary.” The government essentially alleges that the defendant received PPP loan proceeds and used it to further his Medicare fraud scheme.