In March, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the appointment of a director for COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement. Associate Deputy Attorney General Kevin Chambers was chosen to serve in this position, in which he leads the department’s criminal and civil enforcement efforts to combat COVID-19-related fraud.
According to a Justice Department press release from March 10, efforts to combat COVID-19-related fraud schemes involve cases and investigations regarding the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, Unemployment Insurance programs, and COVID-19 health care fraud enforcement. On April 20, the DOJ announced 21 indictments related to alleged COVID-19 fraud.
These cases include defendants who were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute for their roles in an alleged scheme to defraud Medicare. In this case, marketers supplied a clinical laboratory in New Jersey with thousands of COVID-19 diagnostic tests and received kickbacks and bribes from the lab owners for doing so.
In another case, laboratory owners in California were charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to pay and payment of illegal kickbacks and bribes, false statements to Medicare, and money laundering for their roles in an alleged scheme to defraud Medicare of more than $214 million for laboratory tests.