More Oversight Resources Needed to Combat COVID Fraud

Weekly Newsletter | December 18, 2020 | Subscribe

COVID-19 Related Fraud

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Government Executive: Viewpoint: IGs Need More Resources to Combat COVID Stimulus Spending Fraud Problems with the Small Business Administration's pandemic loan program illustrates the need for stronger oversight and more resources to Inspectors General and other government agencies.

The Counter: Fast-food giants gobbled up $1 billion in federal aid for small businesses A new analysis of PPP data shows multiple instances where conglomerates appeared to bypass the $10 million cap on loans through the use of subsidiaries. In addition, franchisees with hundreds of restaurants flew under the radar, in one case collecting $60 million in PPP loans.

News 5 Cleveland: Farms? Or fakes? $6.9 million in COVID-19 aid approved for agribusinesses registered to Ohio homes Three small residential homes in Northeast Ohio are the registered address for 45 agricultural businesses. None of the businesses were registered with the Ohio Secretary of State before May 1, 2020, and $6.9 million in COVID-19 aid went to the applicants.

WCNC: Charlotte man charged with COVID-19 relief loan fraud A North Carolina man applied for a $142,900 COVID-19 emergency loan that allegedly contained false statements and misrepresented company’s revenues, costs, and employees and criminal record. He allegedly used the money for unauthorized and personal reasons.

Great Falls Tribune: Laurel man admits $35k COVID-19 relief fraud with Paycheck Protection Program A Montana man admitted that he illegally obtained $35,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by repeatedly and falsely claiming that he did not have any pending criminal charges and was eligible for the loan even though he was subject to felony criminal charges in Montana and Wyoming.

Reuters: California woman admits scam to obtain $500,000 in COVID-19 benefits A California woman allegedly obtained $534,149 in COVID-19-related unemployment funds. She allegedly watched YouTube videos on how to file fraudulent unemployment claims and obtained debit cards worth more than $500,000 from the California Employment Development Department using stolen personal information.

Case Settlements & Opinions


Dept. of Justice: Biogen Agrees To Pay $22 Million To Resolve Alleged False Claims Act Liability For Paying Kickbacks The Department of Justice announced that Biogen, Inc. agreed to pay $22 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by illegally using Patient Assistance Programs as a conduit to improperly pay copays for Medicare patients taking the multiple sclerosis drugs, Avonex and Tysabri.

Dept. of Justice: Importers to Pay More Than $860,000 to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations Concerning Unpaid Customs Duties on Chinese Earrings Roman & Sunstone LLC, ISTAR Jewelry LLC, Ansun Inc, and Starkes Gems Inc agreed to pay $866,068 to resolve False Claims Act allegations that they failed to pay the customs duties on sterling silver earring imports from China. The importers allegedly concealed the number and value of the sterling silver earrings by describing the number of display cards instead of the number of individual earrings imported.

Dept. of Justice: Cambridge area psychiatrists to pay more than half million dollars in False Claims Act settlement Two psychiatrists and their practice group, Neurobehavioral Medicine Consultants, PC, Inc. (NMC), agreed to pay $549,092 to resolve allegations that they submitted false claims to Medicare. They allegedly violated the False Claims Act by admitting medically ineligible patients to the hospital, improperly delaying patient discharges, and billing for services and visits that did not occur or billing at a higher rate than was supported by the records.

Dept. of Justice: Middle Georgia PT Provider Agrees to Pay $500k+ To Resolve Fraud Claims The physical therapy provider McLeod-Hughes and Associates, LLC, and its owner agreed to pay $506,811.18 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by allegedly submitting bills to Medicare and TRICARE for physical therapy services provided by unlicensed, uncredentialed or unapproved individuals.

Dept. of Justice: Owner of Texas Chain of Hospice Companies Sentenced for $150 Million Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme After allegedly and falsely telling thousands that they were dying of long-term incurable diseases and enrolling them in hospice, a corporate executive and his co-conspirator has been charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to obstruct justice as well as six counts of health care fraud. The executive has also been charged with conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks.

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