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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.

California Real Estate Developer Sentenced to Federal Prison for Using Stolen Identities to Obtain Covid-Relief Program Funds

A California real estate developer was sentenced to federal prison today for using stolen identities to fraudulently obtain more than $1.3 million in loans intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fourth Defendant Pleads Guilty in $7 Million COVID-19 Testing Fraud

Maryland and Virginia Men Facing Federal Charges for Fraudulently Obtaining More Than $550,000 in COVID-19 Cares Act Unemployment Insurance Benefits Using the Personal Information of Identity Theft Victims

A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging Michael Cooley, Jr., a/k/a “Micheal Cooley Jr.,” “5Micmusik,” and “Michael White,” age 24, and Isiah Lewis, a/k/a “Zay,” age 33, both of Maryland; and “Alonzo Brown, age 26, of Virginia, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, relating to the submission of fraudulent claims for unemployment insurance (“UI”) benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, enacted to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by the...