The U.S. Department of Justice has named Associate Deputy Attorney General Kevin Chambers as Director for Covid-19 Fraud Enforcement.
In the new capacity, he will lead the department’s criminal and civil enforcement efforts to combat Covid-19 related fraud, along with the latest results of criminal and civil enforcement actions that include alleged fraud related to more than $8 billion in pandemic relief.
As Chief Prosecutor for Pandemic Fraud, Chambers will serve as a watchdog to go after the criminals who stole billions in relief money meant for small businesses and working Americans.
Justice Department has so far filed criminal charges against more than 1,000 defendants with alleged losses exceeding $1.1 billion. The Department has seized more than $1 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loan proceeds; and launched 240 civil investigations into more than 1,800 individuals and entities for alleged misconduct in connection with pandemic relief loans totaling more than $6 billion.
Chambers said he plans to focus on large-scale criminal enterprises and foreign actors who sought to profit at the expense of the American people. This will include establishing Strike Teams to prepare for the next phase in the Justice Department’s efforts to fight pandemic fraud.
“We are receiving an extraordinary amount of data from our state workforce agency partners. This data holds the key to identifying and prosecuting certain types of fraud, including unemployment insurance fraud,” he added.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 430 defendants have been charged and arrested for federal offenses related to Unemployment Insurance fraud.
President Joe Biden said that in the early days of the pandemic, the Trump Administration consistently undermined the watchdogs whose job it was to keep relief funds from being wasted or abused.
“Emergency loans that were supposed to help small businesses keep running and keep employees on the payroll were siphoned off by wealthy scammers. Foreign and domestic criminal syndicates intercepted benefits meant for Americans in dire need of relief. Reports of identity theft spiked by 3,000 percent from 2019 to 2020 — and far too many working families bore the brunt of this unchecked fraud,” he said in a statement.
Biden said that the Covid-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force has already initiated more than 1,000 criminal cases.
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