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Identity Theft in Pandemic Benefits Programs

Congress passed massive relief legislation totaling more than $5 trillion to fight the effects of the pandemic. It was a lot of money—and it went out fast—to workers who lost their jobs, small businesses forced to close due to health and safety concerns, and families trying to pay bills. With so much money going out, criminals schemed to steal people’s identities. They hacked into social media accounts or used email phishing schemes and impersonation scams to steal personal information. Then they used it to get unemployment checks and create fake farms to pocket business loans. But the...

Have you heard about these? Here are 5 relief programs under $500 million.

We talk a lot about the big pandemic relief programs, like the $800 billion Paycheck Protection Program. But what about the smaller programs that received funds to help fight the effects of the pandemic?

Highlights from the PRAC Chair’s Testimony before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis

Michael E. Horowitz, Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) and Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Justice, testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

What’s the government doing now to protect you from identity fraud?

Identity fraud has been rampant during the Pandemic. Our Identity Fraud Reduction and Redress Working Group provides insights agencies can use to keep you, your identity, and the benefits you deserve safe.

New PRAC Working Group to Combat Identity Fraud in Pandemic Response Programs and Improve Victim Redress

Today, Michael E. Horowitz, Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), announced the formation of a new working group focused on preventing and addressing identity fraud in pandemic response programs.

Fraud in unemployment insurance.

Expansion of unemployment programs and the easing of some eligibility requirements under the CARES Act have led to increased fraud – especially identity theft. Some people who would not have normally been eligible to receive regular unemployment benefits became eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In addition, U.S. Department of Labor rules allowed people to receive benefits prior to their filing claims.

FRAUD ALERT: PRAC Identifies $5.4 Billion in Potentially Fraudulent Pandemic Loans Obtained Using Over 69,000 Questionable Social Security Numbers

The PRAC’s Pandemic Analytics Center of Excellence (PACE) data scientists identified $5.4 Billion in potential identity fraud associated with over 69,000 questionable Social Security Numbers (SSNs) used on applications across disbursed loans in the Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and Paycheck Protection Program. Through collaborative verification methods with the Social Security Administration, we identified that these SSNs were used in connection with over 99,000 applications and warrant further scrutiny. The results of this Fraud Alert...

Maryland Man, Previously Convicted for Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft, Facing Federal Charges for Filing Fraudulent Applications for COVID-19 CARES Act Loans and Unemployment Benefits

A federal criminal complaint has been filed charging Ryan Dales, age 34, of Baltimore, Maryland, with wire fraud, relating to the submission of fraudulent applications for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, a Paycheck Protection Program loan, and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The CARES Act was a federal law enacted in March 2020 to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The complaint was filed January 13, 2023, and unsealed today...

Serial Fraudster Sentenced to Nine Years in Federal Prison for Participating in Elder Fraud “Grandparent” Scheme and a COVID-19 CARES Act Unemployment Benefit Scheme

U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Medard Ulysse, age 38, most recently of Miami, Florida, today to nine years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud in relation to multiple fraud schemes, including an elder fraud “grandparent” scam and a COVID-19 CARES Act fraud related to unemployment benefits. Judge Bennett also ordered Ulysse to pay restitution totaling $2,485,512. Of that amount $1,866,745 is for the elder fraud scam and $618,767 is for the unemployment benefits scheme.

Middle District Of Florida Task Force Continues To Combat COVID-19 Fraud

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the results achieved by the Middle District of Florida’s efforts to combat fraud related to COVID-19. Those efforts have included complementary actions by the Criminal, Asset Recovery, and Civil Divisions, along with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.