The Department of Justice recently announced three new Strike Force teams to combat and prevent fraud associated with Covid-19 relief funds.
DOJ Creates Strike Force Teams to Investigate PPP Loan, EIDL Loan Fraud
Since their implementation, both organized and opportunist criminals have repeatedly attempted to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, and the Unemployment Insurance programs. There has also been numerous cases of Covid-19-related health care fraud.
Strike Force Team Assemble
The new Strike Force teams are comprised of prosecutors and agents from various organizations, including the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Secret Service. They are accompanied by agents from the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the SBA Office of Inspector General, IRS Criminal Investigations, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Additional assistance to the Strike Force teams is provided by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee and the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery.
Bringing ‘Fraudsters to Justice’
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland explained: “These Strike Force teams will build on the Department’s historic enforcement efforts to deter, detect, and disrupt pandemic fraud wherever it occurs. Since the start of this pandemic, the Justice Department has seized over $1.2 billion in relief funds that criminals were attempting to steal, and charged over 1,500 defendants with crimes in federal districts across the country, but our work is far from over. The Department will continue to work relentlessly to combat pandemic fraud and hold accountable those who perpetrate it.”
The leader of the Strike Force teams is Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael C. Galdo, the Justice Department’s Deputy Director for Covid-19 Fraud Enforcement, who added: “I am excited to work alongside these dynamic interagency teams. Assembling the fraud, cybercrime, and money laundering expertise of all our agency partners in these prosecutor-driven Strike Force teams is the best way to bring these fraudsters to justice.”
New Strike Force Team Locations
Two of the new Strike Force teams will be operating out of U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Southern District of Florida and the District of Maryland. The third is a joint effort between the Central and Eastern Districts of California.
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