Following a countrywide investigation by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, the United States Department of Justice said on Wednesday that hundreds of individuals have been charged with the theft of more than $830 million in COVID-19 emergency assistance. The investigation covered the whole country.
More than sixty of those indicted are said by the authorities to have connections to criminal groups.
According to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s statement, the current lawsuit, which names more than 300 individuals and seeks to recover over $830 million in suspected COVID-19 fraud, should send a strong message. The Justice Department is still investigating and prosecuting individuals responsible for stealing pandemic relief monies.
During a conference of law enforcement officials broadcast live online, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco swore to keep working on the case until a resolution was reached.
More than $280 billion in COVID-19 relief money may have been stolen, and another $123 billion may have been mishandled, according to a June report by the Associated Press.
Most of the stolen funds were from three major pandemic relief projects designed to aid jobless people and small companies in weathering the economic instability brought on by the virus. Approximately 3,200 individuals have been charged with fraud concerning the COVID-19 assistance program, per the most recent statistics by the Justice Department. Around $1.4 billion in missing assistance money was recovered during the epidemic.
According to court documents, the Department of Justice mentioned a murder-for-hire case in which Milwaukee gang the Wild 100s members were suspected of involvement. Federal authorities say the suspects stole millions of dollars in unemployment aid and used it to buy firearms and narcotics and pay for the murder of a third individual.
The federal indictment identifies the victim in Wisconsin as “N.B.” and does not specify how much of the stolen money was used to pay for the murder.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated on Wednesday that strike teams will be increased in Colorado and New Jersey to fight COVID-19 fraud. There are now active strike groups in California, Florida, and Maryland that these recruits would join.
Deputy Director for COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Mike Galdo has said he does not anticipate a resolution to this problem shortly. Based on their findings, the investigator doesn’t anticipate finishing their investigation anytime soon due to the scale of the plan.