(FiveNation.com)- Now that the pandemic is (finally) coming to an end, the Department of Justice is looking to track down COVID-19 fraudsters who claimed money that they shouldn’t have.
The Justice Department is reportedly piling up a large number of fraud cases as part of its efforts to tackle every single coronavirus fraud. Last Thursday, the agency revealed that it had uncovered fraud schemes totaling $8 billion since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.
President Joe Biden echoed the DOJ’s efforts to reclaim money taken by COVID fraudsters during his recent State of the Union speech, promising to “go after the criminals who stole billions of relief money meant for small business and millions of Americans.”
Reports reveal how just in the last week, three huge fraud cases were highlighted by the DOJ. The cases saw hundreds of thousands of dollars being exchanged illegally and fraudulently. One case involved a couple from Florida who pleaded guilty to 22 counts of fraud. The pair defrauded the government out of $881,000, purchasing a house for $211,000 in North Carolina and several vehicles. The couple – Anthony and Amber Bruey – are now awaiting sentencing. They are expected to be sentenced to as many as 80 years in prison.
In another case, a man from New Jersey pleaded guilty to obtaining a $1.6 million loan fraudulently. Jordan Larkins admitted that he obtained the money by filing three loan applications, which contained false information, to obtain the cash. He then made a large number of cash withdrawals, transferred some of the money to overseas banks, and paid for a number of personal expenses using the loan money.
Government loans were designed to help keep businesses afloat during the pandemic and to keep people in work – but some people chose to use the money for their own personal expenses.
The Department of Justice said that their efforts to tackle fraud relate to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications, as well as fraudulent applicants to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, various Unemployment Insurance programs, and even COVID health care programs.
Did these people really think they would get away with defrauding the government for hundreds of thousands of dollars?