Washington Hospitals Discover Millions of Knockoff PPE Units

Weekly Newsletter | February 12, 2021 | Subscribe

COVID-19 Related Fraud


ProPublica: Contractor Who Was Awarded $34.5 Million in Government Money and Provided Zero Masks Pleads Guilty to Fraud An amateur mask broker who was awarded more than $38 million in federal contracts to provide N95 masks to the Department of Veterans Affairs pleaded guilty to defrauding three different agencies as a part of a scheme to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Seattle Times: Washington’s hospitals send N95 masks to 3M for testing and discover many are knockoffs Dozens of Washington state hospitals have learned N95 respirator masks believed to be purchased from 3M are knockoffs and were not manufactured by the company. The issue affects the supply of somewhere between hundreds of thousands to more than a million N95 masks.

Dept. of Justice: Man Purchased Lamborghini After Receiving $3.9 Million in PPP Loans A Florida man pleaded guilty today for fraudulently obtaining approximately $3.9 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and using those funds, in part, to purchase a $318,000 Lamborghini sports car for himself.

Wall Street Journal: In Covid-Era Travel Scam, Fraudsters Offer Fake Test Results Authorities around the world say they’ve arrested purveyors of falsified coronavirus tests, a prerequisite for many travelers before flying. In France, police found on suspects’ phones more than 200 fake certificates, which allowed people to fly internationally.

Case Settlements & Opinions


Bloomberg Law: Health Management Whistleblower Wins Nearly $1 Million in Fees False Claims Act whistleblower Bradley Nurkin is entitled to $959,713 in attorneys’ fees and expenses for his role in bringing about a $260 million settlement with Health Management Associates LLC for federal healthcare fraud in September 2018, a Florida federal court said. Nurkin previously received $15 million under the settlement.

Dept. of Justice: Florida Businesswoman Pleads Guilty to Criminal Health Care and Tax Fraud Charges and Agrees to $20.3 Million Civil False Claims Act Settlements A Florida businesswoman has agreed to resolve criminal charges and civil claims arising out of false claims to the United States for braces and other durable medical equipment (DME). According to court documents, the defendant and her conspirators used Regency to establish dozens of DME supply companies — or, rather, DME fronts — using trickery and deception.

Political Developments


AP: Senate schedules confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general. The hearing will begin on February 22 and last for two days. The committee is set to vote on Garland’s nomination on March 1.

Politico: Biden move to replace U.S. attorneys looms The Biden administration is preparing to remove nearly all the remaining federal prosecutors Donald Trump appointed across the country, while making accommodations to allow a couple handling highly sensitive investigations to continue with their work, according to a senior Justice Department official.

Bloomberg Law: Fate of Senate Custom an Early Test for Durbin on Judicial Picks New Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin faces the first test of how he blanches his institutionalist instincts and progressive pressure on judicial confirmations when it comes to whether he lets home-state senators block nominees. The decision by Senate Republicans to ignore these “blue slips” in 2017, made it easier for Donald Trump to remake the courts with younger conservative judges.

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