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What We Learned about Federal Telehealth Programs during the First Year of the Pandemic

Recognizing how critical telehealth has been to the federal COVID-19 response, the PRAC Health Care Subgroup—which includes six federal Offices of Inspectors General—worked together to provide insights on the use of telehealth and its associated program integrity risks. Read the full report here.

Improper Payments vs. Fraud

Recent headlines state that $191 billion in pandemic unemployment insurance was lost to fraud. Not exactly. In this Department of Labor Office of Inspector General's Congressional Testimony, around $76 billion of that is classified as fraud. The rest of those funds are referred to as improper payments.

PRAC Reports on the Use and Integrity of Federal Telehealth Programs During the Pandemic

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) released Insights on Telehealth Use and Program Integrity Risks Across Selected Health Care Programs During the Pandemic, a report assessing telehealth utilization and fraud, waste, and abuse risks across six federal agencies during the first year of the pandemic.

Statement from PRAC Chair Michael Horowitz on Labor Watchdog Announcement

Michael E. Horowitz, Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), commended announcement from Larry D. Turner, the Inspector General for the Department of Labor (DOL), that his office has charged more than 1,000 individuals with Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud since the beginning of the pandemic.

Department of Labor Office of Inspector General deploys a pandemic rapid response team.

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) budget increased significantly in FY2020, due in large part to additional funding for programs created or augmented due to COVID-19. As the office responsible for overseeing these funds– $400 billion for 2020 – the DOL Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG) created a Pandemic Rapid Response Team to combat fraud, waste, and abuse.

Self-certification procedures may increase fraud risk in pandemic response programs.

Two different pandemic response programs used self-certification by applicants as a primary requirement to determine eligibility and experienced increased fraud due to that requirement. The Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Labor (DOL) Offices of Inspectors General (OIG) found in recent reports that self-certification is a major fraud risk that cuts across program and agency boundaries.

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...

Houston Woman Pleads Guilty to Cares Act Fraud and Theft of Government Funds

NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that TEMIKA SANTEMORE, age 43, a resident of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty on September 12, 2023 before U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey to a two-count bill of information charging her with making false statements and theft of government funds related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).