Via press release from the Justice Department:
The Justice Department announced today the results of a coordinated, nationwide enforcement action to combat COVID-19 fraud, which included 718 enforcement actions – including federal criminal charges against 371 defendants – for offenses related to over $836 million in alleged COVID-19 fraud.
“The Justice Department has now seized over $1.4 billion in COVID-19 relief funds that criminals had stolen and charged over 3,000 defendants with crimes in federal districts across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.
“This latest action, involving over 300 defendants and over $830 million in alleged COVID-19 fraud, should send a clear message: the COVID-19 public health emergency may have ended, but the Justice Department’s work to identify and prosecute those who stole pandemic relief funds is far from over.”
As part of the effort, 718 law enforcement actions occurred, including criminal charges, civil charges, forfeitures, guilty pleas, and sentencings, with a combined total actual loss of more than $836 million.
Criminal charges were filed against 371 defendants, and 119 defendants pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial during the sweep. Over $57 million in court-ordered restitution was imposed.
117 civil matters occurred during the sweep, with over $10.4 million in judgments. Prosecutors worked with law enforcement to secure forfeiture of over $231.4 million.
As part of the announcement, Acting Director Galdo said that 63 of the defendants had alleged connections to violent crime, including violent gang members also accused of using pandemic funds to pay for a murder for hire. Twenty-five defendants have alleged connections to transnational crime networks.
The Department of Justice announced the launch of two new COVID-19 fraud strike forces, as 371 people were charged over offenses in connection to the alleged theft of more than $800 million in coronavirus aid. https://t.co/IUWiSlDU2v
— The Hill (@thehill) August 23, 2023