Announcing the COVID-19 Task Force

Weekly Newsletter | June 19, 2020 | Subscribe

Dear readers,

This week, our team launched the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund COVID-19 Task Force! This public-private initiative will assist federal and state law enforcement in deterring, detecting, and exposing fraudulent business practices targeting taxpayer dollars.

The Task Force consists of former government officials, subject matter experts, and experienced qui tam attorneys who've collectively helped federal and state governments recover more than $20 billion.

With trillions of dollars injected into the economy through the CARES Act, and trillions more being proposed in the HEROES Act, the Task Force's work to support federal and state law enforcement is crucial. You can read more at Business Wire.

COVID-19 Related Fraud

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Business Wire: TAFEF Launches Task Force to Assist COVID-19 Anti-Fraud Law Enforcement “In the wake the COVID-19 pandemic and the CARES Act, we have seen a disturbing array of fraudulent activity,” explained TAFEF COVID-19 Anti-Fraud Task Force Chairman Jim Breen. “The Task Force strives to shine a light on these fraud schemes and to support the fraud-fighting efforts of federal and state law enforcement.” National Law Review: COVID-19 Whistleblower Protection Bill Introduced to Congress On June 15, Senator Kamala Harris and Representatives Jackie Speier and Jamie Raskin introduced the COVID-19 Whistleblower Protection Act which will seek to provide protections for whistleblowers who blow the whistle on employers who misuse federal funds during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it is passed, it would stop employers from taking reprisals or retaliating against the protected individuals for disclosing or preparing to disclose.

Dept. of Justice: Illinois Business Owner Charged with COVID Relief Fraud An owner of several information technology companies has been charged with allegedly filling a bank loan application fraudulently seeking more than $400,000 in a forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loan.

Lexology: The Major Fraud Statute May Apply to Borrowers of Funds Under the CARES Act During the last major financial downturn in 2008, Congress expanded the Major Fraud Statute to protect federal stimulus funds distributed under the Emergency Economy Stabilization Act of 2008. With the ongoing economic situation, the Major Fraud Statue may be applicable to any business that accepts government assistance under the CARES Act.

Law360: Trends in State COVID-19 Liability Waivers for Care Centers Care Centers have become a target area for COVID-19, due to living in close proximity, and, according to the DOJ, for the False Claims Act. According to one report, 20 states have enacted liability waivers that are applicable for long-term care centers. State waivers, however, may not block action under federal law, including the False Claims Act; however, they differ by state in many areas.

Case Settlements & Opinions


STL News: United States Announces $425,000 Settlement with Allenton Beauty School Metro Beauty Academy, LLC has agreed to pay $425,000 to resolve allegations that it falsely sought student federal aid for students who were ineligible to receive aid because they did not have a high school diploma or equivalent at the time enrolled. The allegations arose from a whistleblower complaint in accordance to the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.

OrthoSpineNews: Federal Government Joins Whistleblower Case Against a Major Medical Device Company The United States joined a lawsuit against a Utah medical device company. The False Claims Act complaint alleges fraud schemes involving unlawful kickbacks were used to influence physicians to use the company’s products over competitors (Read the complaint here).

Dept. of Justice: Three Men Charged in a Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme Three men were charged for their alleged involvement in various schemes to defraud Medicare, TRICARE, and private insurance companies, and a conspiracy to launder the proceeds. This conduct allegedly resulted in more than $180 million in fraudulent billings.

Dept. of Justice: Bradken Inc. has paid $10.8 Million to Resolve False Claim Act Allegations Bradken Inc. paid $10.8 million to resolve the allegations that it produced and sold substandard steel components for installation on U.S. Navy vessels. It was alleged that employees knowingly falsified the test results to hide that the components did not meet the Navy’s specifications.

Dept. of Justice: Nine Pharmacists have been Charged for Role in a $12.1 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme Nine pharmacists have been charged in three separate indictments in their alleged role in a health care fraud scheme that took place in Detroit and Southern Ohio. The indictments alleged that by using the pharmacies, the defendants billed Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross Blue Shield for prescription medications that were not purchased or dispensed.

DOJ News


The New York Times: Third Justice Department Official Announces Departure Joseph H. Hunt, the head of the DOJ’s civil division, announced his departure after two years, making him the third top official to resign in the past week. Hunt did not give a reason for his departure, and the announcement came hours after the DOJ filed a lawsuit, signed by Hunt, against former national security advisor John R. Bolton.

Axios: House Democrats Subpoena two Dept. of Justice Whistleblowers On Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announced that he issued subpoenas for two Department of Justice whistleblowers. This is part of the committee’s investigation into the alleged politicization of the agency under President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr.

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