The Division of Justice (DOJ) introduced Wednesday the launch of two new COVID-19 fraud strike forces, as 371 folks have been charged over offenses in connection to the alleged theft of greater than $800 million in coronavirus assist.
Out of the 371 defendants charged with pandemic-related fraud, 119 of them both pleaded responsible or have been convicted at trial, in accordance a DOJ press launch. Authorities additionally mentioned that greater than $57 million in court-ordered restitution was imposed, and 117 civil issues occurred throughout the federal sweep, with greater than $10.4 million in judgments.
Federal prosecutors additionally labored with regulation enforcement authorities to safe forfeiture of greater than $231.4 million, the DOJ mentioned.
“The Justice Division has now seized over $1.4 billion in COVID-19 aid funds that criminals had stolen and charged over 3,000 defendants with crimes in federal districts throughout the nation,” Lawyer Common Merrick Garland mentioned in a press release.
“This newest motion, involving over 300 defendants and over $830 million in alleged COVID-19 fraud, ought to ship a transparent message: the COVID-19 public well being emergency could have ended, however the Justice Division’s work to establish and prosecute those that stole pandemic aid funds is much from over.”
The division additionally introduced the launch of two extra coronavirus fraud strike forces: one on the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace for the District of Colorado and one on the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace for the District of New Jersey.
The division mentioned that the 2 new strike forces add to the three strikes launched final September in California, Florida and Maryland.
“The regulation enforcement actions introduced as we speak replicate the Justice Division’s focus — working with our regulation enforcement companions nationwide — on bringing to justice those that stole from American companies and households at a time of nationwide emergency,” Deputy Lawyer Common Lisa Monaco mentioned. “The 2 new Strike Forces launched as we speak will improve our attain as we proceed to pursue fraudsters and get well taxpayer funds, irrespective of how lengthy it takes.”
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