The Changing Face of Fraud During the Pandemic

More than a year into the pandemic and all the government programs, funding, and relief that came along with it, the federal government is accelerating its pace of prosecution of fraud. 

Since the passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the federal government created an entire office to prosecute COVID-19 related fraud. The new law established the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) to oversee the CARES Act, where employees can submit complaints. SIGPR worked on 20 preliminary inquiries and full investigations in the second quarter of the year, received and vetted 620 hotline complaints, and referred 201 to other agencies. Every US Attorneys Office has a liaison for SIGPR who helps direct fraud investigations on a local level. 

Healthcare fraud has long been a focus area for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Northern Texas. The legal tool is often the false claims act, which dates back to the Civil War when war profiteers made false claims about the services they were providing to the union army. North Texas was one of the first locations for the federal Health Care Fraud Task Force, but the Payment Protection Program loans keep investigators even busier. “The intersection between COVID-19 relief funds and health care fraud is one of their highest priorities,” says Arthur Gollwitzer, a partner with Jackson Walker, who focuses on white-collar litigation…


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